By Staff Reporter

Lagos, 7 December 2022 (ECA) – The Government of Nigeria, with the support of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) validated its National AfCFTA Implementation Strategy at a workshop in Lagos, Nigeria, which brought together about 200 key stakeholders from different sectors who considered the eight pillars of the strategy and their relevance to Nigeria’s development agenda.

The Implementation Strategy, developed by the National Action Committee on AfCFTA (NAC), identifies priority actions to be undertaken by the Government of Nigeria to effectively realize the full benefits of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). It was reviewed by a technical panel last month in Lagos.    

In his opening remarks, Senior Advisor in the Regional Integration and Trade Division (RITD) of ECA, Mr. Adeyinka Adeyemi, highlighted that the ECA, through its African Trade Policy Centre (ATPC) has been working with member states to deepen Africa’s trade integration and effectively implement the agreement through policy advocacy and national strategy development.

“Nigeria has demonstrated high commitment to the implementation of AfCFTA,” Mr. Adeyemi noted, adding, “It is my conviction that the feedback from the workshop will further enrich the strategy and form the basis for an upgraded document for the Government’s consideration and eventual adoption.”

He assured the meeting that the ECA will continue to support the Government of Nigeria in its economic transformation and development agenda, towards the successful implementation of the AfCFTA.

In her welcoming address, the Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr. Evelyn Ngige, in a speech delivered by Mr. Simon Omo-Ezomo, Director, Special Duties, stated that the development of a national AfCFTA implementation strategy is a key step in harnessing the full potential of the AfCFTA in order for Nigeria to become a significant player in Africa’s regional economy and the evolving market.

On his part, Mr. Francis Anatogu, former Secretary of the National Action Committee, presenting the Implementation Strategy, highlighted that Nigeria’s national AfCFTA implementation strategy, is another major milestone on Nigeria’s journey to develop specific product and services value chains at scale specifically for regional integration through AfCFTA.

“The focus is on the value chain coming together,” he added.

He further stated that the validation workshop will pave the way for formal adoption and implementation of the AfCFTA strategy.

“All stakeholders need to invest and drive towards the effective implementation of the AfCFTA strategy, which will require the government, the private sector and other trade support institutions to closely work together,” Mr. Anatogu stressed.

The development of the strategy is based on a process that is both participatory and inclusive. It has enabled the collection of both quantitative and qualitative data, and defines an implementation plan for the measures contained in the Agreement establishing the AfCFTA.

Nigeria becomes the 25th country to validate its national AfCFTA Implementation Strategy with the support of the Economic Commission for Africa.

The AfCFTA validation workshop is one of the key activities of the European Union-funded project. The EU supports ECA in its efforts to advocate for the AfCFTA ratification and to develop and operationalize national strategies for effective implementation and monitoring of the agreement.