Home Business and Economy WHY NIGERIA MUST PONDER ON DIVIDENDS OF AFCFTA AT THIS PILOT PHASE

WHY NIGERIA MUST PONDER ON DIVIDENDS OF AFCFTA AT THIS PILOT PHASE

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By Omenihu Alfred fibmn

Obviously, Nigeria and entire Africa is overly reliant on global supply chains; export of primary commodities. Hence, when the global supply chains are disrupted, we know that Africa suffers. Public opinion has it that implementing the African Continental Free Trade Area will help usher in the kinds of reforms necessary to enhance long-term growth, reduce poverty, and broaden economic inclusion. Another truth is that if the African continental Free trade agreement policy is properly implemented, it will definitely reposition Africa in the global space.

Furthermore, AfCFTA aims to bring continent-wide free trade to 1.3 billion people in a $3.4 trillion economic bloc. Speculations are very strong that the policy will boost trade among African neighbours while allowing the continent to develop its own value chains. The World Bank estimates it could lift tens of millions out of poverty by 2035.

Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo expressed enthusiasm during the online launch ceremony saying that a new Africa is emerging with a sense of urgency and purpose and an aspiration to become self-reliant. Other regional groupings, for example the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), are exploring their own models, having adopted the ASEAN Economic Community in 2015 along with an associated blueprint for the subsequent decade. Meanwhile, the free trade area of the Asia- Pacific (FTAAP) remains a stated objective of the 21 economies of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum.

Reacting to World bank and others forecast that Covid-19 pandemic will bring about recession in Africa, even as the full extent of the damage is not yet known, Wamkele Mene, the first Secretary-General of AfCFTA’s secretariat headquartered in Accra believes that the African Continental FreeTrade Area can serve as a framework for the region’s economic recovery from covid-19 pandemic.

Nigeria, as a West African giant has been spotted among nations that might habour skepticism of losing out to more competitive neighbours in the pan-African project. But as Silver Ojakol, the chief of staff at the AfCFTA Secretariat will have it. “Economic integration is not an event. It’s a process, and we must start somewhere.”