The Federal Government has assured all that the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), which Nigeria recently signed on to, will transform the nation’s economy and create jobs for millions of people.
Vice-President Prof. Yemi Osinbajo gave the assurance at the opening session of this year’s annual directors’ conference of the Institute of Directors (IoD) Nigeria in Abuja.
Osinbajo, who was represented by the Special Adviser (SA) to the President on Ease of Doing Business, Dr. Jumoke Oduwole, noted that though the country only recently signed the AfCFTA, there are many initiatives that had been put in place by the government.
To show that Nigeria stands to gain a lot from the free trade pact, the Vice-President argued that “at $35.45 billion, Nigeria’s manufacturing value-added is about seven times more than the current average for the top 20 African countries”.
He added: “Based on projections by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), the agreement is expected to boost intra-African trade by between by $50 billion to $70 billion in monetary terms, with a 40 per cent to 50 per cent increase over the first 20 years of its implementation.”
Osinbajo described the AfCFTA as “a laudable development that builds on existing regional initiatives and presents opportunities for increased collaboration and economic integration among African economies”.
He said: “These are the early days of the trade agreement. There is no doubt that Nigeria would enjoy significant benefits from the agreement. AfCFTA will promote a vibrant and competitive industrial sector that is central to job creation and income growth.”
Osinbajo said at $35.45 billion, Nigeria’s manufacturing value-added is about seven times more than the current average for top 20 African countries.
But he said the government was aware that there would be more work to be done.