AfCFTA implementation to grow Africa’s export by $560 billion – World Bank

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By Francis Ogwo

When the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is effectively implemented, it has the potential of growing Africa’s export by $560 billion and fight poverty in Africa.

This was the view shared by the Head of Trade Remedies, Nigeria Office for Trade Negotiations, Adetola Onayemi, during a keynote lecture titled “AfCFTA Overview: Objectives, Challenges, Benefits and Implementation Plan,” during the recently concluded Nairametrics Regulatory Economic Outlook Webinar 2021.

According to Onayemi, the trade deal when properly sealed has the capability of lifting 30 million Africans out of extreme poverty with a further boost of Africa’s income by $450 billion.

Speaking further, he dispelled insinuations that Nigeria was forced into the treaty while arguing that Nigeria’s role in the negotiation and success of the trade pact is outstanding.

Onayemi said: “The World Bank has said that if the AfCFTA is implemented well, it is expected to raise 30 million Africans out of extreme poverty and 70 million Africans out of moderate poverty. It is going to boost export by $560 billion, increase our wage gain by 10% and boost Africa’s income by $450 billion.”

According to historical documentations, the AfCFTA will be one of the largest trade blocs in the global economy since the 1995 WTO establishment, with an estimated GDP of $3 trillion.

The implementation of AfCFTA deal which was initially scheduled to take off on July 2020 has been postponed to January 2021 due to the pandemic.

As at today, 54 out of the 55 member states of the African Union have signed the AfCFTA treaty, while 41 countries through their custom union have submitted tariff offers.

On 5th of December 2020, Nigeria became the 34th country to submit its Instrument of Ratification.

Onayemi further states recent key developments as regards the AfCFTA to include; a Johannesburg declaration by member states to enhance women and youth participation, on-going conversation between AfCFTA and Afreximbank to develop a Pan-African payment settlement system to solve currency differences, on-going conversation with Zenith Bank to develop a trade portal.

Others include: AfCFTA’s negotiation with Standard Bank to offer $1billion trade facility to SMEs,provision for an initiative tagged Afrochampions, aimed towards providing a trillion dollar investment framework to AfCFTA enabling projects and trade remedies needed for African free trade implementation

Recall that there have been debates my ECOWAS member countries on the compliance of Nigeria to the AfCFTA deal with the border closure of Nigeria to neighbouring West African countries but with Nigeria arguing it took the measure to curtail cross border smuggling of arms and to discourage importation of commodities which can be produced locally.

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