The Executive Chairman/ CEO, BUA Group, Abdul Samad Rabiu, has expressed excitement and readiness to work towards the implementation and success of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area agreement, which when fully operational, will transform the African economy and enhance development across the continent.
Abdul Samad Rabiu expressed this view while receiving the Secretary General of the AfCFTA, Wamkele Mene and the Acting Director, National Office of Trade Negotiations, Victor Offiong at the BUA Headquarters in Lagos. Rabiu spoke about the current status of regional agreements from the ECOWAS Trade Liberalization Scheme (ETLS) to the East African Community (EAC) Customs Union, dumping, Proliferation of small arms and illicit smuggling, the Trans-African highway and Private sector/African Union/government partnerships – noting that these areas were critical to the success of the AfCFTA. He specifically said due to the poor implementation of regional trade agreements, there is a high level of distrust amongst Africa nations despite their support for AfCFTA. He expressed serious concern over “a situation where people can-not move goods produced in African countries where over 90 per cent value has been added to other African Countries”.
In proffering solutions to the problems, Rabiu said for the AfCFTA integration to be successful, there must be free movement through liberalized air travel, operations, and visa-free regimes across the Africa continent for businesses and individuals. He also emphasized that Private Sector must be invited by the Governments of Africa to discuss the way forward for sustainable investments and partnerships, noting that the private sector has a lot to offer the continent saying, “For cross border trade to work, everyone – governments, private sector and DFIs must be willing to collaborate fast to fix infrastructure to spur growth. BUA is interested in being part of these effort and we also urge the secretariat to look into a private-sector led development of the Trans African Highway.”