Nigeria’s border closure will not affect the Continental Free Trade Agreement

A Senior Partner of A.B and David Pan African law firm, David Ofosu-Dorte has said that the continuous closure of Nigeria’s border with Benin will not affect the implementation of the Continental Free Trade Agreement in July this year.

A Senior Partner of A.B and David Pan African law firm, David Ofosu-Dorte

West Africa’s biggest economy, shut its land borders alleging that people smuggle cheap goods and weapons through them.

The decision has not only affected the neighbours of Nigeria but also other countries in the sub-region including Ghana.

There has been arguments with some saying that this may affect the implementation of the Continental Free Trade Agreement.

But Mr Ofosu-Dorte said Nigeria’s decision rather allows the sub-region to create other channels to enhance continental trade.

“We should not confuse Nigeria’s closure of its border with the free trade agreement. At the time Nigeria closed its borders the reason it gave had to do with smuggling of goods from Benin. I don’t think Nigeria targeted Ghana as an example.”

“So for instance, if we had a shipping line moving between Ghana to Nigeria, we could have exported our goods to Nigeria without having that challenge based on the closure of the border,” he stated.

He further stated that: “without going into whatever made Nigeria close its border, I will not confuse that with the AfCFTA. Nigeria itself needs the AfCFTA. There are three countries in Africa which are key when it comes to size: Nigeria, South Africa, and Egypt. I believe these; who have signed on to the agreement, will all become very proactive.

The Economist Intelligence Unit in January predicted that the African countries signed up to the landmark continental free trade agreement may be forced to postpone the commencement date on July 1, 2020.

They argued that despite more than a year’s grace period, the 27 countries which have signed the agreement and ratified the deal, will not be ready to commence trading in the new trading zone.

The firm in its latest economic update on Ghana said it remains skeptical as to whether most AfCFTA signatory states will be ready to implement the agreement by the July 2020 deadline— mainly because their governments are too distracted or uninterested to implement it meaningfully.

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