African leaders will meet for the first mid-year coordinating meeting of the AU and the regional economic communities (RECs) in Niamey, Niger.
“Let me state unequivocally that trade is important for us as a nation and to all nations. Economic progress is what makes the world go around. Our position is very simple, we support free trade as long as it is fair and conducted on an equitable basis,” a tweet from the Presidency reads.
Nigeria says it will sign AfCFTA after extensive domestic consultations and the biggest economy in Africa is focused on taking advantage of ongoing negotiations to secure the necessary safeguards against smuggling, dumping and other risks/threats.
The AU meeting is scheduled to hold between July 4 and 8 2019 in Niamey, Niger.
Power generation and logistics infrastructure weak still weak among members
Aurelien Mali, a vice president and sovereign analyst at Moody’s says, “As the largest African economy, Nigeria’s membership of the African Continental Free Trade Area will play a key part in the trade bloc reaching its maximum potential. However, important structural challenges remain. Power generation and logistics infrastructure are weak in most countries in the trade area, both of which play a crucial role in supporting trade and manufacturing in Africa.”
AU prepares for the operational phase of the AfCFTA
On May 31, the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) officially kicked off.
The AU will phase out the agreement on July 7 at its summit in Niger where some outstanding issues including arbitration measures, tackling corruption, will be tabled before members. The Assembly of Heads of States is also expected to launch the operational phase of the AfCFTA.
The AfCFTA, launched on March 21 2018 in Kigali, is the biggest in the world since the establishment of the World Trade Organisation. The objective of the agreement is to create a single continental market for goods and services, with free movement of business people and investments.