The Punch

AFCFTA’LL boost employment opportunit­ies, says National Action Committee

- ADEPEJU ADENUGA

THE increasing economic activities created by the African Continenta­l Free Trade Area Agreement will help boost the rate of employment in

Nigeria and across the continent, the National Action Committee on AFCFTA has said.

The Secretary, National Action Committee on AFCFTA and Senior Special Assistant to the President on Public Sector, Francis Anatogu, said this in an interview with our correspond­ent.

Anatogu said, “The size of Africa’s imports is huge, rightly $600bn in goods and $20bn in services per annum. These imports are mostly from outside the continent. For instance, by capturing 10 per cent of the African import market, Nigeria would be doubling her current value of exports to the world and considerin­g that the focus is nonoil sectors that have higher jobcreatio­n potential, we can estimate that we will be creating a significan­t number of jobs.

“The studies conducted by the World Bank and others estimate that the AFCFTA will lift 30 million Africans out of extreme poverty, boost the incomes of nearly 68 million others who live on less than $5.50 a day, boost Africa’s income by $450bn by 2035 with a gain of seven per cent and also increase Africa’s exports by $560bn, mostly in manufactur­ing.”

According to him, the agreement is focused on the export of finished products or products with significan­t local/african content.

He said, “It would foster industrial­isation in the sense that not only will we be producing and exporting primary products, we will also be producing value-added products and services for export to Africa. Directly, by increasing economic activities, there will be significan­t job creation.

“The economic sectors are linked and so there will be multiplier effects of increased production in one sector on other sectors. Indirectly, there will be additional job creation across sectors.”

Anatogu said to realise those opportunit­ies, a lot more needed to be done in the country. He highlighte­d the need to build the production and export capacity of the nation; grow the skills and productivi­ty of the workforce; improve the nation’s infrastruc­ture, especially power, logistics and quality infrastruc­ture; improve the business environmen­t and access to finance; and grow the access granted to Nigerian businesses in African markets.

He added, “The National Action Committee has also

identified those products and services that Nigeria should prioritise to achieve her AFCFTA objectives.

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