Nigeria became the 53rd country to join the African Continental Free Trade Area on Sunday after President Muhammadu Buhari signed the AfCFTA Agreement in Niamey, Niger Republic.
The Republic of Benin also joined the group, bringing to 54, the total of African countries out of 55 that had endorsed the AfCFTA agreement. Only Eritrea is left out.
The Nigerian President appended his signature to the agreement at the 12th Extraordinary Summit of the African Union on the Launch of the Operational Phase of the AfCFTA.
“A total of 26 African countries have deposited instruments of ratification, with Gabon being the latest after depositing her instrument of ratification during the Extraordinary Summit.
The AfCFTA Agreement entered into force on May 30, 2019, thirty days after having received the twenty-second instrument of ratification on 29th April 2019 in conformity with legal provision”, a State House statement by the Special Adviser to Buhari on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, said on Sunday.
But, speaking at the event in Niamey, Buhari noted that much as Nigeria supported free trade among the African countries, the trade must also be fair to all.
He said, “Nigeria wishes to emphasise that free trade must also be fair trade.
‘‘As African leaders, our attention should now focus on implementing the AfCFTA in a way that develops our economies and creates jobs for our young, dynamic and hard-working population.
‘‘I wish to assure you that Nigeria shall sustain its strong leadership role in Africa, in the implementation of the AfCFTA. We shall also continue to engage, constructively with all African countries to build the Africa that we want.”
Buhari spoke in details on Nigeria’s position on the trade agreement, especially on how best to make it successful.