Politics: Take ownership of AfCFTA, African govts urged Daily Parrot

President Muhammadu chas urged African Sub-Sovereign Governments to accelerate their involvement in facilitating the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

He made the call at the second African Sub-sovereign Governments Network (AfSNET) conference in Abuja.

At the event, organised by the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), in collaboration with the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), Buhari commended Afreximbank and NGF for “demonstrating innovative thinking by taking the AfSNET to the grassroots”.

Buhari said the AfSNET initiative, “if properly harnessed, is a significant step for Africa to begin carving its own niche in the global value chain, from the constituent units up” .

He also described the initiative as a complement to broader programmes such as the AfCFTA, which he said remains one of the most strategic pan-African programmes to deliver inclusive and sustainable development.

“I am firmly convinced that with the right collaborative action, we will be able to record a much stronger pace of transformation. Through shared knowledge, innovation and creativity, we will be better able to cater for the needs of the African continent’s population of over 1.4 billion people,” Buhari stated.

President/Chairman, Afreximbank, Prof. Benedict Oramah, emphasised the leading role that Sub-Sovereign Governments are expected to play through the African Sub-sovereign Governments Network.

“AfSNET is expected to fill an important void because it recognises that whereas trade and commercial policies are national, their implementation is usually sectoral and local. Involvement of regional and local governments will make it possible for the full benefits of the AfCFTA to be realised,” Oramah declared, noting that Afreximbank will support AfSNET through various other products and initiatives to facilitate intra-African trade, including financing, capacity building, export and investment promotion, linkages and partnerships, digital solutions, and policy advisory services.

Ekiti State Governor and Chairman, Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), Olukayode Fayemi, explained that “the African Continental Free Trade Agreement has provided us with an opportunity to deepen intra-African trade by promoting a liberalised market that permits freer flow of capital, goods, services and our people. It also encourages industrial development through diversification and regional value chain development.”

“Working closely with our own Federal Government, we are collaboratively initiating and implementing strategic policies to better provision Nigeria for the AfCFTA by strengthening our entire export value chain, eliminating barriers to the ease of doing business, enhancing infrastructure development, embracing anti-dumping and anti-discriminatory trade policies. As sub-nationals, with a huge potential for intra-regional trade, I know that all of us here stand ready to make this dream a reality,” he enthused.

Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment and Co-Chair National Action Committee on AfCFTA,  Adeniyi Adebayo,said against the backdrop of the progress being made in the implementation of the AfCFTA, the second AfSNET conference was “a unique opportunity for us to take stock and reflect on how best to assist our citizens in realising the benefits of the AfCFTA.”

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