Nigeria has officially joined the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) after President Muhammadu Buhari signed the AfCFTA document in Niger on July 7, 2019.
Nigeria became the 53rd country to join the African Continental Free Trade Area on Sunday. The Republic of Benin also joined the group, bringing to 54 with Eritrea being the only outcast.
The AfCFTA came into force in May after clearing a key procedural hurdle and being ratified by the parliaments of 24 countries. It aims to bring all 54 members of the African Union (AU) together in a single market of 1.2 billion people by removing trade barriers such as tariffs across Africa.
- AfCFTA is aimed at expanding intra-African trade through trade liberalization policies
- It removes business and import restrictions within the continent
- It intends to boost trade, eliminate border barriers and create the world’s largest free trade area.
Nigeria had initially refused to commit because there was worry that exposing its manufacturers to greater competition could force some of them out of business and drive up unemployment. However, after reviewing an impact assessment of the trade agreement in June, Buhari agreed to come on board. He also emphasized that free trade must also be fair trade.