The Nigeria-South Africa Chamber of Commerce (NSACC) has called for the establishment of a single Africa Continental visa to enhance the free movement of persons component of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
Its President, Mr Osayande Giwa-Osagie, made the call at the Nigeria-South Africa Chamber of Commerce(NSACC) September Breakfast Forum on Thursday.
The forum was with the theme: “Perspectives on the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) in Relation to Nigeria”.
AfCFTA aims to establish a single Continental market for the free flow of goods, services, and capital supported by the free movement of persons.
Giwa-Osagie noting that the AfCFTA would help boost intra-African trade rate by 22 per cent, said its implementation would impact positively on the Nigerian economy with freer movement of persons.
He also stressed the need for Nigeria to diversify its economy to harness the gains of the agreement.
“Current intra-African trade rated at 15 to 17 per cent is low and the AfCFTA is expected to boost intra-African by 22 per cent.
“Challenges to its implementation are lack of infrastructure, political instability and lack of economic diversification.
“This gives rise to the need for Nigeria to diversify its economy to harness the gains of the agreement.
“Given the importance of free movement of people , there is need for a free visa Africa and a single Africa passport.
“While the implementation would help boost the Nigerian economy, impact would be limited if there are no free movement of people,” he said.
Mr Jesuseun Fatoyinbo, Head, Trade and Transactional Services, Stanbic IBTC Bank, said the business community needed more clarification on tariff reduction or elimination.
Fatoyinbo said the little information available to corporates in this regard may lead to a hold back on investments.
“We have noted increased interests from global multinationals and other corporates in setting up facilities in Africa aimed at serving the continent and exporting abroad.
“So more transparency around tariff reductions both in terms of timelines and details of goods could prompt companies to act,” he said.
He also urged for more attention to the digitalization of trade processes.
“Currently, trade in Africa is largely reliant on physical documentation and this is a major impediment.
“Policymakers need to prioritize regulatory amendments that allows for the digital signatures, digital certificate of origin, digital bills of lading, and other documentation,” he said.