Buhari: AfCFTA can double intra-African trade by 2030

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Buhari: AfCFTA can double intra-African trade by 2030

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President Muhammadu Buhari has stated that the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) can provide the opportunity for a significant increase in trade among African countries by 2030.

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This was stated on Monday by President Muhammadu Buhari in his address at the opening ceremony of the Intra-African Trade Fair (IATF) 2021 at Durban, South Africa.

Buhari while warning that the goal cannot be achieved by just words canvassed support for the implementation of the free trade initiative.

He said the difficulties confronting the AfCFTA can be solved if the public and private sectors collaborate.

“Under the African Continental Free Trade Area, we can double our intra-African trade by 2030, reduce our reliance on imports and therefore create more jobs within the continent,” he said.

“We cannot achieve this goal by talking alone. The implementation will be a difficult journey. But all challenges are surmountable if both the public and private sectors collaborate.

“On the public sector side, governments must support local entrepreneurs to build scale and therefore improve productivity.

‘‘This means providing incentives to encourage our businesses to formalise and comply with laid-down regulations.”

The president explained that most of Africa’s existing challenges ranging from security, economy or corruption can be traced to the continent’s inability over the years to domesticate the production of its most basic requirements and provide jobs to its teeming and dynamic youth population.

Noting that free trade must also be fair, Buhari said fairness can only be achieved when there is full compliance with regulations, especially those relating to rules of origin.

“The AFCFTA is for ‘made-in-Africa’ products and services. Africa must be a marketplace where no country is left behind,” he added.

“As we implement, we must ensure that we create jobs and enhance revenues for all parties. We must leverage on one another’s strengths to succeed.”

Buhari also called on businesses in Africa to key into existing regional value chains or build new ones, either to extend operations into the higher value segments of their industries or to satisfy the AfCFTA’s rules of origin requirements.

On Nigeria’s participation at the trade fair, the president said his delegation is attending with ‘‘full force”, poised to take full advantage of the available opportunities.

‘‘Let me assure you that Nigeria has come to Durban in full force to actively participate in this very important trade fair and take full advantage of all the opportunities it provides,” Buhari said.

“We have streamlined the country’s participation under one roof to enable you access all the information you need.”

He also said the Nigerian economy has witnessed a turnaround under his administration

“As many of you are aware, in the past five years, Nigeria has made significant strides towards the diversification of her economy from an oil revenue dependent country to a nation with diverse revenue sources,”  he said.

“We were able to achieve this by putting in place fiscal, monetary and trade policies that support investments and investors in key sectors such as agriculture, mining, telecommunications and digital economy, banking and financial services, tourism, and manufacturing.”

Declaring that Nigeria is open for business, the president added that progress is being made in the reform of key institutions, the fight against corruption, as well as the ease of doing business in the country.

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