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10 key facts on African free trade which started on January 1


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THE African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) started on January 1 this year with a view to expanding intra-African trade and removing barriers to economic cooperation.  

The essence of the AfCFTA is to create a borderless Africa where trade and commodities can freely flow without customs restrictions.

Since the AfCFTA will redefine the way Nigerians live, The ICIR has compiled a list of 10 facts you must know as the continental free trade gears up.

The first fact is that the AfCFTA was signed by 55 African countries except for Eritrea.

The second fact is that there will be fewer restrictions on export products from Nigeria to African countries and imports from African countries into Nigeria, going forward.

The third fact is that intra-African trade was 15 percent in 2019, while intra-European trade stood at 68 percent. On the other hand, intra-Asian trade was 59 percent within the same period. This means that Africa is not trading so much with each other.

Fourth is that the size of African economy is $2.6 trillion, but the AfCFTA is estimated to increase this to $6.7 trillion by 2030 if the free trade treaty becomes successful.

Fifth is that Nigeria ratified the AfCFTA on November 12, 2020, making Africa’s most populous nation a signatory to the trade treaty.

The sixth fact is that there is Anti-Dumping Agreement in line with the World Trade Organisation (WTO)’s rules on Article V1 of General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) of 1994. This means that it is a breach of the agreement for countries to turn Nigeria into a dumping ground for their products.

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Seventh, the Nigerian Customs Service has a right to apply anti-dumping measures if it feels that countries are dumping products into the country.

Eighth, there are rules of origin, meaning that goods from any African country will be given preferential treatment while products from outside Africa will not, according to Article 13 of the Agreement prepared by the African Union.

Ninth, in line with Article 28 of the Agreement, Nigeria can adopt restrictions if its balance of payment position is in dire deficit or if its economy is in dire straits.

Tenth, countries can apply for amendments from time to time.

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