Nigeria set to ratify #AfCFTA – Mene
Africa’s largest economy, Nigeria is now set to ratify the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, #AfCFTA, the Secretary-General of the continental trade promotions group, Mr. Wamkele Mene has said.
The West African nation which was one of the initial lead drivers of the African integration process had however momentarily dropped the ball and was indeed one of the last of 54 states that have presently signed the agreement.
But speaking at a recent event in Lagos, Mene expressed his personal satisfaction that Nigeria is now ready to deposit the instrument of ratification of the #AfCFTA treaty at the secretariat of the pan-African body, noting that he is equally looking forward to Nigeria playing a more impactful leadership role in the entire #AfCFTA process.
He emphasised that it was now time for the continent to now shift its focus more firmly to matters of trade and investment, affirming that the best interests of the continent would always be uppermost in any decisions that his secretariat would be making.
“Whatever decision we take at the secretariat would be informed by what Africa wants. We will not put up any design that will not support what Africa wants. We would employ digitization, and fintech will drive financial inclusion. We would drive trade inclusion through fintech that would be affordable, accessible, and available,” adding that “Border closure and xenophobic issues have to be addressed according to the rules of the trade agreement, foreigners have to be protected by the agreement. All foreign entities must be treated like domestic players. Discrimination of any kind that will be tolerated. AfCFTA has improved on the WTO requirements on trade facilitation, and we would ensure that countries meet up with their obligation to ensure smooth trade,” Wamkele outlined.
In his contribution, the Managing Director, Ecobank Nigeria, Patrick Akinwuntan affirmed that the bank is prepared to partner with other organizations to explore opportunities in the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), recalling that it is indeed for the same reason that the pan African bank was set to ensure.
“Naturally for us as a pan African bank, we are set up to support the economic integration and development of Africa. We have a commitment, capacity, network to support the realization of AfCFTA objectives. We understand the regulatory environments, cultures and have the technology and innovation platforms. We will support Fintech to push Africa to benefit from the global market,” Akinwuntan stated.