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African Continental Free Trade Area Great Move By AU Even Without Nigeria

Commentary March 19, 2018

A landmark African free trade agreement, namely African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) treaty is scheduled to be launched by the African Union (AU) in Kigali, Rwanda, on March 21, 2018. At least 28 African heads of state are expected to attend the signing event. However, to be noticeably missing at the inaugural ceremony in Kigali, is president Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria! The Nigerian president announced at the last minute on March 18, 2018, he will not attend the launching of the AfCFTA treaty as earlier indicated because more consultation about the treaty, with some major local stakeholders was needed before Nigeria could sign it. That is despite endorsement of the treaty by the country's cabinet on March 14, 2018. But then, does it matter if Nigeria opts out of the AfCFTA treaty? Probably not. It may be symbolically unfortunate Africa's largest economy that is expected to show leadership in the continent is behaving in such a polarizing manner. Otherwise, the rest of Africa with South Africa, the most industrialized nation in Africa, on-board, Nigeria's isolationist/protectionist-led refusal to join the AfCFTA treaty would not have any impact on the effectiveness of the treaty in enhancing trade and development in Africa. After all, despite being Africa's largest economy, Nigeria is largely a natural resource export economy with a manufacturing base that is still at its infant stage. As such, in terms of trade the country is unlikely to be competitive outside Africa, meaning that Africa is its best market at the moment! _____________________________ © 2015 - 2021 Africauptodate. All Rights Reserved

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