AfCTA: Buhari Urges African Govts To Demonstrate Higher Level Of Commitment

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President Muhammadu Buhari has stated that for the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) to succeed, African governments must demonstrate a higher level of commitment.

Buhari said this during his speech at the second African sub-sovereign governments network (AFSNET) conference on Friday in Abuja, according to presidential spokesperson Femi Adesina.

The event was organized by the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) in collaboration with the AfCFTA secretariat and the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF).

Buhari lamented the lack of trade among African countries.

”As leaders, we must all be concerned that we are not trading enough amongst ourselves. It is a bitter reality that Intra-regional trade still accounts for a very tiny fraction of total trade in Africa,” he said.

”We have to understand that if this new drive towards a continental free trade area is to succeed, we must demonstrate a higher level of commitment to tackling the slow pace of physical integration due to geographic and political fragmentations, the pace of political cooperation, and difficult tariff and non-tariff barriers that inhibit business integration.

‘I am firmly convinced that with the right collaborative action, we will be able to record a much stronger pace of transformation.

“Through shared knowledge, innovation and creativity, we will be better able to cater for the needs of the African continent’s population of over 1.4 billion people.”

He urged the conference to use the network and support provided by pan-African institutions as a platform for exchange of ideas, knowledge and skills.”

He also stated that the conference should seek to advance innovative solutions to support Africa’s common goal of expanding intra-Africa trade opportunities for its people.

Buhari praised the conference organizers for their innovative thinking in bringing the AfCFTA to the grassroots.

He also thanked Afreximbank President Benedict Oramah and his team for committing $250 million as seed capital to the AFSNET’s establishment.

He acknowledged that the initiative, led by Afreximbank, aimed to firmly establish and deepen Africa’s intra-continental trade investment development frontier.

He went on to say that the initiative aimed to reduce the continent’s reliance on primary commodity exports while also mitigating the risks associated with a strong reliance on global value chains.

”This opportunity, if properly harnessed, is a significant step for Africa to begin carving its niche in the global value chain, from the constituent units up,” he said.

”This will undoubtedly complement broader programmes such as the AfCFTA, which remains one of the most strategic pan-African agenda to deliver inclusive and sustainable development.”

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