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25th April 2018

Nigeria Snubs Free Trade as 44 African Nations Sign the Trade Pact in Rwanda!

By a press release (04/04/18)

African leaders who met in the Rwandan capital Kigali for an African Union summit set up the world's largest international free trade area.

 

Forty-four African countries have signed an agreement establishing a free trade area seen as vital to the continent's economic development, the head of the African Union said recently.

However, the agreement will still have to be ratified at a national level, and is only due to come into force in 180 days. The full list of countries which did not sign the agreement is not yet available.

However Nigeria, Africa's biggest economy, is a notable absentee after President Muhammadu Buhari pulled out of the launch in Rwanda saying he needed more time for consultations at home.

Nigeria, one of Africa's largest markets, hesitated after objections from business leaders and unions, a sign that getting the deal through scores of national parliaments may face several hurdles.

"The agreement establishing the African Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) was signed by 44 countries," said Moussa Faki Mahamat, chairperson of the African Union AU commission.

The creation of a free trade area, billed as the world's largest, comes after two years of negotiations and is one of the AU's flagship projects for greater African integration. This idea is a copy from the European Union model.

"Some countries have reservations and have not finalised their national consultations. But we shall have another summit in Mauritania in July where we expect countries with reservations to also sign," said Albert Muchanga, the AU Commissioner for Trade and Industry.

Courtesy: AFP

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