African Union look­ing to con­vince Nige­ria on free trade agree­ment

Business a.m. - - NEWS - Afo­labi Oluwaseun

THE AFRICAN UNION (AU) is look­ing to con­vince Nige­ria to over­turn its de­ci­sion to de­lay the sign­ing of the African Con­ti­nen­tal Free Trade Agree­ment (AfCTA).

Moussa Faki, the chair­man of AU, with a del­e­ga­tion of the union is cur­rently in Nige­ria to visit and con­vince all the rel­e­vant au­thor­i­ties, in­clud­ing the pres­i­dent Muham­madu Buhari, to see rea­sons why the free trade agree­ment is the next step in the African eco­nomic revo­lu­tion.

Nige­ria re­fused to sign the agree­ment in July on the premise that it would ex­pose in­dus­tries and small busi­nesses to ex­ter­nal pres­sures and com­pe­ti­tions, which could lead to clo­sures and job losses.

“One of the rea­sons for the visit is to dis­cuss with the pres­i­dent on the African free trade that is yet to be signed. We have to re­alise that Nige­ria is one of the im­por­tant coun­tries in Africa and Nige­ria is com­mit­ted to the de­vel­op­ment of the con­ti­nent,” Faki said.

While stat­ing the need for Nige­ria to be part of the coun­tries push­ing the AfCTA agenda for the ben­e­fit of the whole con­ti­nent, he also ex­pressed ex­cite­ment with the re­lent­less bat­tle against cor­rup­tion in Nige­ria and Africa in spite of all the odds.

The AU Chair­per­son came for a two-day of­fi­cial visit to Nige­ria from Oct. 25th to Oct. 26th.

Ge­of­frey Onyeama, Nige­ria’s min­is­ter of for­eign af­fairs, in his re­marks, said that the visit of the chair­per­son was sig­nif­i­cant be­cause Africa is cen­tral in the Nige­ria for­eign pol­icy adding that AU is ex­tremely im­por­tant to Nige­ria.

He said that the chair­per­son had good ideas of achiev­ing var­i­ous goals of AU, adding that, Nige­ria would sup­port him to achieve the goals.

Onyeama said, “there is a road map and he has a vi­sion for Africa and its de­vel­op­ment. There is 2063 agenda which is a roadmap that we hope will lead to peace and se­cu­rity on the con­ti­nent. The roadmap is to si­lence the gun, by 2020,” he said.

Ac­cord­ing to the min­is­ter, there is also the Sus­tain­able De­vel­op­ment Goals agenda and that of eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment on con­ti­nent.

“There is a re­form process that AU is in­volved to meet its chal­lenges and that is a very im­por­tant process for all the mem­bers to be en­gaged in. We are sup­port­ing him, he has a very clear vi­sion, and clear idea of how to achieve th­ese goals and Nige­ria is a very in­te­gral part of that process.”

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