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Buhari signs free trade area agreement

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PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari finally signed the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement, making Nigeria the 53rd county to do so.

He signed the document on Sunday morning at the 12th Extraordinary Session of the Assembly of the Union on AfCFTA and the First Mid-Year Coordination Meeting of the African Union and the Regional Economic Communities held in Niamey, Niger Republic.

President Buhari had set up a panel to study the agreement, which projected in its report submitted in June that the country’s economy stands to benefit from increased trading with other countries on the continent.

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The panel also noted that possible adverse effects include “massive smuggling that could turn Nigeria into a dumping ground for goods produced outside of Africa”.

The goal of the agreement is to facilitate the free movement of products, followed by the creation of a single-currency union. It is expected to lead to the emergence of the world’s largest free trade area since the establishment of the World Trade Organisation.

Already, 24 countries have ratified the agreement.

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