AfCFTA/African Continental Free Trade Agreement is a trade agreement with the sole aim of creating a single market, free movement and an African single-currency union.

The idea of free trade is to reduce trade barriers and increase the trading of goods and services between member states thus protecting local markets and industries. So far, 54 states have signed the AfCFTA agreement, and it has Ratification by 22 countries thus, making the AfCFTA agreement effective.

Nigeria was one of the last countries to sign the AfCFTA agreement as Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari avoided signing the agreement both on March 21st, 2018 and July 21st, 2018 because he felt Nigeria could not do anything that would undermine local manufacturers and, they also needed to consult with local, indigineous businesses so as to ensure private sector buy-in to the agreement in order to  prevent anti-competitive practices.

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Luckily for Nigerians, on July 2nd, 2019 Muhammadu Buhari announced the signing of the agreement and, on July 7th, 2019, the agreement was signed; making Nigeria one of AfCFTA countries with free trade benefits. Why then did he sign the agreement after the prolonged refusal to do so?

He said in a statement: “Nigeria wishes to emphasize that free trade must also be fair trade. As African leaders, our attention should now focus on implementing the AfCFTA in a way that develops our economies and creates jobs for our young, dynamic and hardworking population.

“I wish to assure you that Nigeria shall sustain its strong leadership role in Africa, in the implementation of the AfCFTA. We shall also continue to engage, constructively with all African countries to build the Africa that we want.”

AfCFTA, just like Bellafricana is a platform that enables indigenous manufacturers of Made In Africa goods to market and sell their products/services to their consumers whilst building local wealth (click here to find out how you can join the Bellafricana platform).

One of AfCFTA’s goal is to transform trade in Africa but, what does this mean for Nigerians? What are the advantages or benefits of AfCFTA to Nigerians now that the agreement has been signed?

AfCFTA increases access to higher-quality products; allowing consumers to buy better-quality, locally made products at a lower price thus, driving economic growth and increasing trade (click here to know how you can increase your sales and grow your business).

It requires local businesses/manufacturers to adapt to the shifting demands of the marketplace. These adjustment is what fuels long-term growth as manufacturers begin to produce based on what is actually demanded thus, driving competitiveness and growth.

It reduces the importation of international goods as well as import-input costs, thus reducing the cost of production in Nigeria whilst promoting the growth of Made in Nigerian products.

It also enables workers and resources to be used productively thus, promoting a dynamic economy whilst creating new job opportunities, higher wages and investments.