Nigeria’s Federal Executive Council (FEC) Wednesday announced on their twitter handle that it has ratified Nigeria’s membership of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) ahead of the December 5 deadline to join the new Pan-African Trade Agreement.
AfCFTA is scheduled to take off on January 1, 2021 after the initial July 1, 2020 takeoff was cancelled due to the global coronavirus pandemic.
This is great news for Africa’s biggest economy by population and market size.
Analysts claim AfCFTA will be the world’s largest free trade area since the formation of the World Trade Organization.
It aims to bring together all 55 member states of the African Union (AU) covering a market of more than 1.2 billion people, including a growing middle class and a combined gross domestic product (GDP) of $2.6 trillion.
Estimates from the Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) suggest that the AfCFTA has the potential to boost intra-African trade by 52.3%, and to double this trade if non-tariff barriers are also reduced.
This could in turn boost African economies whose economies has been battered by the coronavirus pandemic.
Nigeria signed onto the agreement on July 7, 2019, but withheld full ratification of the agreement which raised eyebrows from a number of countries in Africa.