-by our correspondent.
President Muhammadu Buhari has called for the commitment of member states of the Economic Community of West Africa State (ECOWAS) as the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement begins on January 1, 2020.
President Buhari made the call at the 13th Extra-Ordinary Summit of the African Union Assembly of Heads of State and Government held virtually over the weekend.
The Nigerian President, who was represented by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, said the successful inauguration of AfCFTA in January 2021 would be a fulfillment of the collective dreams of Africa’s founding fathers.
President Muhammadu Buhari
He said Nigeria is committed to taking all the necessary steps towards the start of the trading zone on Jan. 1, 2021, adding that any abuse of the rule could affect trade relations, cause disorder, regional and geopolitical tensions and reduced economic growth as the free trade bloc is seeking to achieve a better, united, peaceful and prosperous Africa.
In his words, “In view of Nigeria’s strategic role in our collective efforts to build the Africa we want, the Nigerian government has taken bold steps to ratify the AfCFTA, it is, however, pertinent to remind us of the need to preserve the agreed rule we are putting in place, to ensure that there is no breakdown or abuse of the rules based continental free trade framework.”
According to him, Nigeria is keenly aware of her role in deepening intra-Africa trade and making it a success and the country remains open to transparently work with sister states across Africa in the spirit of cooperation.
“ As we seek to deepen Continental Integration through the free movement of goods, natural and legal persons across the continent we must remain strident and committed in our support for the instrument while promptly addressing actions that could lead to breakdown of rules-based African Continental Free Trade Area.” He added.