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Nigeria to sign intra-African trade deal by weekend

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President Muhammadu Buhari says he will sign the agreement establishing the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) at the upcoming 12th Extraordinary Summit of the African Union.

The African Union Summit is scheduled to hold between 4 and 8 July in Niamey, Niger Republic’s Capital.

The President announced its position on the intra-African trade through his official Twitter handle on Monday, a week after he received the report of a committee assessing Nigeria’s readiness for the free trade.

“Nigeria is signing the African Continental Free Trade Area  Agreement after extensive domestic consultations,” presidency tweeted.

He said that Nigeria focus will be on taking advantage of ongoing negotiations to secure the necessary safeguards against smuggling, dumping and other risks or threats.

Buhari, when he was receiving the committee’s report on June 27 that measured the impact on and readiness of Nigeria for the Africa free trade, noted that the Country’s will support as long as “it is fair and conducted on an equitable basis”.

He mentioned how the intra-African trade is only 14 per cent of Africa’s total trade, adding that the region consumed more of non-African countries’ goods. But he said his vision for AfCFTA is for the free movement of ‘made in Africa goods’ which is goods and services made locally with dominant African content in terms of raw materials and value addition.

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African Continental Free Trade Area seeks to create a single market for goods and services, with free movement of people and investments across African countries. While it came into force on paper in May, Nigeria is one of three countries, including Benin and Eritrea that has not signed the business deal.  But as Nigeria agreed to sign in a few days, the duty-free movement of goods in the region is a step closer. Once the deal is passed by all 55 nations recognised as part of the African Union, the agreement will come into full force.

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