Pres urges Nigeria to support Africa’s single market

President Akufo-Addo receives a gift from the planning committee of the Nigerian Bar Association

President Akufo-Addo receives a gift from the planning committee of the Nigerian Bar Association

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has urged the Federal Republic of Nigeria to give its assent to the Continental Free Trade Area, Africa’s single continental market for goods and services, with free movement of business persons and investments.

 

According to President Akufo-Addo, “Nigeria, with her dynamic population, sense of enterprise of her people, and the size of her economy, is an automatic leader of any regional or continental market. She has nothing to be afraid of, but, on the contrary should be the major beneficiary of any such market.”

 

Speaking at the 58th Annual General Conference of the Nigerian Bar Association, in Abuja, Nigeria, yesterday, the President noted that Africa’s small countries will continue to struggle if they do it alone.

 

The accelerated economic integration of committed nations, he said, will breathe new life into the African Union, and deliver the benefits of African integration to the doorsteps of the African peoples, “hence, the critical importance of the Continental Free Trade Area Agreement, which has been signed by a majority of countries on the continent, but ratified only by a handful, including Ghana.”

 

“It is imperative that the 22-minimum number of country ratifications, required to bring it into effect, be met as soon as possible,” he added.

 

A major deficit of our economic development, President Akufo-Addo explained, has been the low level of intra-Africa trade that has characterized the performance of African economies up till now.

 

In 2000, intra-regional trade accounted for 10 per cent of Africa’s total trade, and increased marginally to 11 per cent in 2015. Trading amongst members of the European Union, for example, amounted to 70 per cent in 2015.

 

“I believe it is extremely important for the welfare of the 1.2 billion people of the continent that we, the leaders, demonstrate strong political will to operationalize the African Common Market. It is my fervent hope that Africa’s largest economy, Nigeria, will very soon assent to this Agreement,” he said.

 

With West Africa’s current population of 350 million set to reach a population of 500 million in 20 years, and likewise Africa’s set to increase from 1.2 million to 2 billion people in 20 years, the President noted that “genuine regional and continental markets in Africa should be in the mutual interests of Ghana and Nigeria.”

 

These markets, the President stressed, “will present immense opportunities to bring prosperity to our peoples with hard work, creativity and enterprise.”

 

The success of the Continental Free Trade Area, in President Akufo-Addo’s view, is a function of the peace and security of the continent.

 

“All right-thinking persons must support the efforts that are being made to tackle the menace of terrorism, such as Boko Haram and the Jihadist insurgencies in the Sahel. It is a collective struggle for civilized governance that must engage us all,” he urged.

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