AfCFTA to stimulate intra-African trade to $35bn yearly – Minister

Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr. Doris Uzoka Anite, has revealed that the African Continental Free Trade Area ( AfCFTA) could stimulate intra-African trade by up to $35 billion per year, boost agriculture and industrial exports by up to $4 billion (7%) and $21 billion (5%) respectively.

She said AfCFTA could stimulate a GDP rise from $1.7 trillion to $2.6 trillion thereby pushing up consumer spending from $860 billion to $1.4 trillion and thus potentially lifting millions out of poverty.

The Minister who was represented by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Amb. Nura Rimi, at the 30th African Organisation Standardisation (ARSO) General Assembly in Abuja, observed that only 35 of the 43 African nations that ratified African Continental Free Trade Area ( AfCFTA) agreement all being African Organisation for Standardisation (ARSO) members will largely benefit from strategies of reducing tariffs and non-tariff barriers among member nations.

Piloted in the Six African nations are Kenya, Rwanda, Cameroon, Ghana, Tanzania, Mauritius, Tunisia and Egypt.

He explained that by reducing trade costs and facilitating business expansion, and with effective standardisation framework, the African Continental Free Trade Agreement therefore, provides great opportunities for African businesses, including the Small and Medium Enterprises, to gain from and contribute to Africa’s rapid market growth and expanded Trade under the African Single Market.

The Minister said the AfCFTA has been structured to boost intra-African trade which over the years has suffered three major categories of obstacles; namely weak productive capacities and limited economic diversification, tariff-related trade costs, and high non-tariff-related trade costs that hamper the competitiveness of firms and economies in Africa.

He said to realize this vision, “we must embrace standardisation as: “Standards set Good International Best Practices in every sector of Life”, which, if strictly adhered to, could promotes productivity, trade and ensures predictability, transparency, openness, and as well as a basis for Technical Regulations.

The Director General/ Chief Executive, Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), Dr. Ifeanyi Chukwunonso Okeke explained that the theme of this year’s General Assembly “Educate an African fit for the 21st Century – Building a Quality Culture – One Market, One Standard” is not only apt and significant but will further cement the hope of a standardized single market.

He said in alignment with this vision, the current Nigerian administration, under the banner of “Renewed Hope”, has laid out a comprehensive educational roadmap aimed at transforming our educational sector.

“This roadmap focuses on increasing access to quality education, improving infrastructure and investing in the givers of education – the teachers.

“The government’s commitment to educational reform reflects our understanding that education is the foundation of national development.

“At the Standards Organisation of Nigeria, we are committed to integrating this roadmap with our collective goal of fostering a quality culture and transfer of knowledge through standardization – a significant progress in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals that will ultimately capture “no-African-child-is-left-behind effort.

“The challenges we face are enormous, sometimes complex: understanding the various theories of climate change and addressing them, harnessing the 4th Industrial Revolution, uplifting the young people, controlling burgeoning population, amongst other.

“These challenges demand that we equip our youth with cognitive skills and knowledge necessary to navigate and succeed in an increasingly complex global landscape,” he said.

Also, ARSO President, Professor Alex Dodoo, expressed concern that Africa should take advantage of it natural resources and population to lead the world.

He said it is now time to take control of Africa and change the narrative. “Let’s begin to confront African mentality and provide solutions .

“The problems are real . African leaders should educate Africans with the reality of Africans and create basic infrastructures, wealth creation, amongst others,” he said.

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