Monday, April 29, 2019

Export Business Investment For Busy Executives- Exportation Lead Ingot

AFCFTA Update: Africa Is Set To Leave Nigeria Behind

The 52 Countries that have signed the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) and the 22 countries that have ratified, have indirectly reminded Nigerian of their intention to leave the giant of Africa behind if it remained adamant on not signing the AfCFTA that is supposed to revolutionize trade and development in Africa. As at April 29th, 2019, 52 countries have signed, leaving behind Nigeria, Eritrea and Republic of Benin while 20 countries have ratified and deposited the instrument with the African Union (AU) Chair. The remaining two countries that are required to ratified in order to kickoff the AfCFTA have now have now ratified but yet to deposit the instrument with the AU chair and these are Zimbabwe and Sierra Leone. The 20 countries which have both signed and deposit the ratified document with the AU chair are; Chad, Congo, Djibouti, Eswatini, Ethiopia Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Ivory coast, Kenya, Mail Mauritania, Malawi, Niger, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Togo and Uganda.
The AfCFTA agreement has been projected to grow African trade by 52% by 2022, and it is aimed at removing barrier to trade and liberalize service within the African continent. Intra-African trade currently stands about less than 20%, whereas that of European Union (EU) is over 60%. EU, with a population of about 500 million people is contributing about 33% of world trade, while Africa is contributing less that 3% with a population of about 1.2 billion people. By the time this agreement takes effect in July as planned by AU commission, it is expected that the volume of African trade in goods and services within Africa will begin to grow significantly. Taking a cue from what China has done in the last decade by lifting over 200 million people out of poverty by virtue of its commitment and strategies deployed to grow trade consistently, we can also expect that this would begin to happen on the African Continent. As the Intra-African trade in goods and services begins to grow, this will positively impact on the production, GDP, per-capita income and consequently reducing poverty on the continent. 
What is sad about this whole arrangement is that one of the largest market in Africa which happen to be Nigeria is yet to sign or ratify this agreement. Considering the fact Nigeria is the largest beneficiary of the ECOWAS Trade Liberalization Scheme (ETLS) where Nigeria is contributing more that 40% of the trade among the 15 countries in ECOWAS, this is an indication to any rational observer that Nigeria is going to be a major beneficiary to AfCFTA if the nation signed it. I will like to state at this point that the argument put forward by the organized private sector like Manufacturer Association of Nigeria and Nigeria Labour Congress and other bodies who are putting pressure on the government not to sign the agreement, are very weak because these agreement already have inbuilt safeguards for the economies of the member states signing the agreement. This is therefore making the private interest of a few people to deny a whole lot of people in Nigeria the opportunities for growth and development that will be stimulated by signing of this agreement.
It is our hope that the president is going to have a rethink on this issue, so that before July, 2019, a date set by the AU to kick-start the implementation of this agreement with commence, that Nigeria will take a step in signing this agreement and also ratify it so we can benefit immensely when it commences.
Bamidele Ayemibo/