The Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) says the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is marking a new dawn in Africa’s drive towards economic integration as it takes off Friday.
Alhaji Al-Mujtaba Abubakar, President, ACCI who made this known on Friday in Abuja, said it would ensure that various recommendations for its implementation would be acted upon.
AfCFTA agreement comes into effect on Friday, Jan. 1, 2021.
According to Abubakar, today marks the realization of a dream conceived in 1963 during the establishment of Organization of African Unity, now African Union.
Across African capitals, from East to West and from North to South, the celebration is feverish as Africans today break decades of economic isolation by embracing unhindered trade access and interaction.
The continental trade is targeted at creating collective wealth and listing Africans out of the poverty bracket.
“As a leading Chamber in Nigeria, ACCI is elated to be part of this historic occasion, a process in which we actively participated from the beginning to fruition.
“We want to note that Nigeria has been fervently preparing for this day, especially through the mobilization and strategic activities of the National Action Committee on readiness for the AfCFTA,’’ he said.
The ACCI president noted that various sub-sectoral groups have worked for months collating, designing and launching various sectoral action plans to put Nigeria’s private sector on a strong footing for the continental programme.
Abubakar affirmed that ACCI was a strong partner all through and set to ensure that various recommendations for accelerated readiness were acted upon.
According to him, Nigeria as the leading economy on the continent has a historic opportunity to deepen her economic reach and depth across Africa, leveraging on her affirmed strengths in services and manufacturing sector.
The president further said that Nigerian firms were already strongly rooted in many African countries.
He added that the new dawn would only enhance rather than diminish Nigeria’s economic influence on the continent.
Abubakar expressed ACCI’s commitment toward continuous mobilisation of her members to tap into the various sectoral action plans to enhance their capacities to trade within the context of the AfCFTA.
He said that ACCI would launch a Monthly AfCFTA Monitoring Review Roundtable to assess development within the free trade process, assess issues of interest and address disputation in the trading process.
The ACCI boss congratulated the Federal Ministry of Trade, Industry and Investment and the leadership of the Nigerian private sector and identified with fellow Africans on the development.
The AfCFTA was officially launched on March 21, 2018, in Kigali, Rwanda and as of December 2020, 54 AU Member States had signed the AfCFTA agreement.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that President Muhammadu Buhari signed the agreement establishing the AfCFTA on July 7, 2019.
Buhari, thereafter, immediately directed the constitution of a National Action Committee (NAC) which had coordinated its implementation readiness.