The African Continental Free Trade Area is one major solution for the expansion of non-oil exports from Nigeria to foreign lands, the Federal Government stated on Sunday.
Special Assistant to the President on Public Matters, who doubles as Secretary of the National Action Committee on AfCFTA, Francis Anatogu, described the continental free trade area as a vehicle for Nigeria’s quest for economic diversification.
He disclosed this at the first strategic stakeholders sensitisation seminar of the committee on the AfCFTA.
The NAC under the leadership of the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Richard Adebayo, recently brought together private and public sector stakeholders for knowledge sharing in preparation for the operationalisation of the AfCFTA scheduled for January 2021.
In a statement issued by Anatogu in Abuja, he said, “The stakeholders are an integral part of the AfCFTA drive that would ensure a smooth, seamless and beneficial implementation of the agreement.
“For as long as we depend on crude oil revenue, our economic prosperity will depend on oil prices which sadly continued to fall in recent times. The solution is to expand non-oil exports and AfCFTA gives us the opportunity to do that.”
In her presentation titled ‘Effects of AfCFTA on the Nigerian Economy in Relation to Foreign Direct Investment and Domestic Direct Investment’, the Executive Secretary, Nigerian Investment Promotion Council, Yewande Sadiku, told participants why Nigeria was more ready for the operationalisation of the AfCFTA than most African countries.
She said, “Many Nigerian companies, particularly in the services sector, have long developed the capacity to serve the rest of Africa.
“While large domestic market makes Nigeria the ideal gateway economy, Nigeria’s manufacturing value addition is more than seven times the average of the top 20 economies in Africa.”
On the implications of AfCFTA to Nigeria’s financial sector, the Director, Monetary Policy Department, Central Bank of Nigeria, Hassan Mahmud, said there were about 700 banks in Africa but they only accounted for about five per cent of the global banking network.
“Continental integration in the banking system is key to strengthen the sector as a whole in Africa,” he stated.