Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari has signed the treaty establishing the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
He signed the agreement at the opening of the 12th Extraordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union (AU) in Niamey, Niger held on July 7, after he approved the recommendations of the Presidential Committee on the Impact and Readiness Assessment of the African Continental Free Trade Area, AfCFTA, agreement.
The President’s spokesman Garba Shehu had said last week that the president would be signing the Phase-one of the agreement in the course of his attendance at the Mid-Year Coordination Meeting of the African Union and 12th Extraordinary Summit.
“A country that signs the first level will then go into country-level discussions leading to treaties after safeguards are agreed to”, Shehu said in a statement.
The AfCFTA treaty is one of the topmost initiatives of the African Union Agenda 2063, aimed at creating a single market for goods and services in the continent with free movement of business persons, investments and a single currency across the continent.
Also, the treaty commits countries to remove tariffs on 90 per cent of goods and liberalise services, while sensitive items, which make up the balance 10 per cent, will be phased out later as tariff-free.
The first phase of the agreement was adopted and signed by the African Union Heads of States and governments at its 10th Extraordinary Summit in Kigali, Rwanda, on March 21, 2018.
Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy was a prominent facilitator to the drafting and adoption of the agreement, the country was among the few countries that did not join in signing the final document.
The AfCFTA agreement will only succeed if the continent develops policies that promote production, he said while receiving the report of a committee set up to consider whether the country should join the trade pact.
Nigeria is one of 29 countries yet to sign the agreement seeking to boost intra-African trade, stimulate investment and innovation.
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