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AfCTA gets enough signatures for enforcement — without Nigeria

AfCTA gets enough signatures for enforcement — without Nigeria
April 03
21:33 2019

The African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCTA) has gotten the nod from 22 countries, the minimum threshold for its enforcement.

The Gambia was the 22nd country to ratify the agreement, a year after it was first introduced while Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy, has not reached a decision on its participation in the agreement.

The agreement is expected to become operational within a month after the required number of endorsement is received by the AU chairperson’s office.

The free-trade area is the largest in the world since the creation of the World Trade Organisation in 1995.

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The AfCTA is expected to help African countries eliminate high tariffs and enhance intra-African trade.

Nigeria had backed out at the last minute with President Muhammadu Buhari saying the country couldn’t sign agreements without understanding the terms.

“Already, some of the treaties we are party to have been significantly abused, resulting in massive smuggling which has crippled many of our local industries and destroyed millions of jobs,” he said at the time.

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“To avoid these past mistakes, we conducted vast consultations across the country in which the LCCI participated. The responses have been mixed.’’

At present, only 15 of the 22 countries who have ratified the agreement has submitted their ratification documents at the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa.

Speaking at the recently concluded Africa CEO Forum, Paul Kagame, the Rwandan president, had said Nigeria would naturally be a part of the agreement.

“And it makes that sense to Nigeria as well, especially given the benefits and impact it will have on Nigeria and also Nigeria impact on the economy of the continent,” he said, adding that talks are ongoing with Buhari.

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