Nigeria 'to sign AfCFTA agreement this weekend'

Legislation | 3 July 2019

Nigeria could become a member of the African FTA sooner than anticipated.


Nigeria will become part of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) when it signs the free trade agreement this weekend, according to a statement.

News from the office of Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari revealed the country will agree to the deal at the Extraordinary Summit of the African Union in Niger.

It added on Twitter that the decision comes "after extensive domestic consultations" and following reassurance on issues such as smuggling and dumping.

The AfCFTA came into effect at the end of May 2019, but Nigeria was one of the 29 countries yet to ratify it.

This was despite the nation having been in support of such an agreement to reduce trade barriers since talks began in 2002. It backtracked after unions and businesses argued their trade could be harmed if tariffs were dropped and goods flooded in from elsewhere.

However, a government panel was formed to examine the potential impact of the AfCFTA and chair Desmond Guobadia recommended that Nigeria join based on the "immense opportunities" for its manufacturing and service companies.

It is hoped the FTA could boost regional trade by as much as 60 per cent within three years thanks to the progressive elimination of tariffs.