New Telegraph

Nigeria missing as AfCFTA launches guided trade drive

The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) secretariat based in Accra, the capital of Ghana, over the weekend, launched a guided trade initiative for seven member countries, excluding Nigera, the continent’s largest economy. According to a press release, the seven countries, which have signaled their readiness to start trading under AfCFTA, were Tanzania, Mauritania, Kenya, Egypt, Cameroon, Rwanda and Ghana. Secretary-General of the AfCFTA, Wamkele Mene, said at least 96 different products from the seven countries could be freely traded under the rules of AfCFTA.

Products approved to trade under AfCFTA include horticultural products, pharmaceuticals, rubber, aluminum kitchenware, sugar, steel, and wooden products. These products originating from Africa will enjoy duty-free and quota-free trading among the partnering countries. “This is the moment the founding mothers and fathers of the Organization of Afri-can Unity have longed (for). We have finally honored and made reality the vision of those who liberated our continent,” said Mene. “We are connecting East Africa to West Africa, North Africa to Southern Africa. Trade will be the driver of inclusivity, creating opportunities for young Africans.

So we have taken the first journey today, and I hope in 15 years, we will have succeeded in lifting millions and millions of Africans out of poverty,” he added. Ghanaian Minister for Trade and Industry, Alan Kyerematen, observed that the launching of guided trade among seven countries was symbolic in many ways. “It symbolises that Af- CFTA is not just on paper but a reality. And we are moving from talk and negotiations to action. It also symbolises that governments in Africa who have been involved in the negotiations are now giving way to the private sector to make it a reality,” Kyerematen stated.

Nigeria was the 34th country to ratify the AfCFTA agreement, which seeks to create the single largest market in the world -1.2billion people- for goods and services and free movement of persons within Africa. As of May 2022, 54 countries had signed the agreement of which 43 (80%) had deposited their instruments of ratification. Also, one country (Somalia) has completed its domestic ratifica-tion, but not yet deposited their ratification with the depository. Eritrea is the only AU member state which has not signed the agreement.

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