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Afreximbank Pledges $25bn for Intra-African Trade

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Afreximbank Pledges $25bn for Intra-African Trade

The Organised Private Sector has advised the government against signing the African Continental Free Trade Area agreement until further consultations and engagement have been held with stakeholders to address their concerns.

The agreement is touted by the African Union as encompassing a market of 1.2 billion people, and a gross domestic product of $2.5 trillion.

The special adviser to the president on media and publicity, Femi Adesina, briefing State House correspondents after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting said it was expected that the minister of labour would call for a stakeholders meeting with labour movement to brainstorm on the implications of the CFTA framework agreement.

"And today, more than ever before, so too is the road we will travel together to get there", the Financial Times reported Paul Kagame, the President of Rwanda and Chair of the African Union stating.

Meanwhile, Mugambwa said that one of the challenges for the trade deal is that all countries on the continent that signed on to it might not move at the same pace.

Prof Botchway said political leadership is absolutely essential for effective intra-African trade on the scale required for sustainable development, adding that what is required is pragmatism and futuristic creativity.

The free-trade zone is the largest in the world since the creation of the World Trade Organisation in 1995. "We are working tirelessly to ensure that our airports are viable and self-sustaining hence this is the ideal time for Nigeria to host this prestigious event", said Rafindadi.

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Sani Yan Daki, deputy director general of the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), told Germany's Deutsche Welle news service: "Nigeria is still a developing economy". Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni and his Burundi counterpart, Pierre Nkurunziza, also skipped the gathering.

For many South African manufacturers, Africa can be the future. By this time it will account for 26 percent of the world's working age population.

Even though 44 countries signed up for AfCFTA, the agreement will have to be ratified by national parliaments of signatory countries after which the free trade area will come into effect. Talks began the following week to form a trade agreement for the entire continent, according to Bloomberg. These will focus on investment, competition and intellectual property rights.

Economists point to Africa's low level of intra-regional trade as one of the reasons for the continent's enduring poverty and lack of a strong manufacturing base. But, the report did warn that benefits and costs might not be distributed evenly across the African continent.

However, there are fears that the benefits of the free trade area could be unevenly distributed.

The World Trade Organization was formed in 1995 and comprises of 164 members.

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