Published: Mon, July 08, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Buhari in Niamey signs agreement establishing AfCFTA

Buhari in Niamey signs agreement establishing AfCFTA

Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari has finally signed the Agreement Establishing the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

The agreement was given a boost when the presidents of Nigeria and Benin signed on to rapturous applause on Sunday morning at the two-day summit in Niger's capital Niamey.

It is hoped that the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) - the largest since the creation of the World Trade Organization in 1994 - will help unlock Africa's long-stymied economic potential by boosting intra-regional trade, strengthening supply chains and spreading expertise.

The presidency said that since its adoption, the AfCFTA had been signed by 52 countries, with 24 ratifications, thus ensuring its entry into force after it surpassed the threshold of 22 ratifications by AU member states.

President Mnangagwa will join fellow Heads of State and Government here for the Extraordinary African Union Summit which starts today.

The AfCFTA will remove barriers and tariffs and open up trade in Africa for the continent's more than 1.2 billion people.

The deal was given a boost when Nigeria, Africa's most populous country and largest economy, announced this week it would join the pact in Niamey, after having unexpectedly pulled back from the agreement a year ago.

He posted photos of the president signing the agreement.

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This comes three days after the Nigerian presidency announced that President Muhammadu Buhari will sign the agreement.

"The participation of Zimbabwe would mean opening up to 29 additional countries, mainly from Central Africa, West Africa and North Africa which provides an enlarged market access for the country's exports", he said.

"An old dream is coming true, the founding fathers must be proud", said Faki, adding that AfCFTA would create "the greatest trading area in the world".

"I am determined to do whatever I can to guarantee the smooth take-off of the Secretariat, and help make sure that it turns out to be a world-class institution, which will become the pride and joy of all Africans", he said.

"What is important to us in the OPS is the need to immediately log into the initiative", he said.

The Niamey Summit will be one of the most attended AU Summit by Heads of State and other personalities in recent time, he noted.

The summit also saw the launch of a digital payments system for the zone and instruments that will govern rules of origin and tariff concessions, as well as monitor and seek to eliminate non-tariff obstacles to trade, the African Union said.

The AfCFTA will create a single continental market for goods and services; enhance free movement of business persons and investments; enhance competitiveness at the industry and enterprise level through exploiting opportunities for full-scale production.

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