Buhari Supports Africa Establishment Of Free Trade Area.

President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday
canvassed for the speedy establishment of a single, unified market structure in
Africa to increase trade, create more jobs and reduce poverty.
The president made the call while
presenting Nigeria’s position in favour of the report on the establishment of a
Continental Free Trade Area, CFTA, and related issues presented by President
Mahamadou Issoufou of Niger Republic, during the 30th Ordinary Session of the
Assembly of Heads of State and Government in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
 “It is Nigeria’s position that as African
leaders and principal architects of our Union, must speed up action to conclude
the negotiations and establish the CFTA,” he said.

President Buhari at the 30th African Union Summit  Photo credit: 360nobs.com
Noting that the continent has missed
the timeline set by the African Union, AU, in January 2012 to establish the
CFTA in 2017, he said African leaders still had the opportunity to set it up by
March 2018.
Justifying Nigeria’s vote for the
CFTA, the President said: “In a rapidly changing global economy, with much
uncertainty, we believe that the establishment of a CFTA would provide Africa
with tremendous opportunity to achieve significant growth driven by
intra-African trade.”
According to him, while the stakes
in setting up CFTA are no doubt very high, the benefits are wide-ranging and
“The primary objective is economic
mainly, for trade in goods and services on the continent. A single, unified
market would lead to a comprehensive and mutually beneficial trade agreement
amongst African Union Member States.
“If we integrate Africa’s market for
trade in goods and services, we will not only double intra-African trade, but
also negotiate with other regions or continents on trade matters,” he said.

Mr. Buhari argued further.

“If we increase our trade, we grow faster, create more jobs and reduce
poverty. Thus, with CFTA, our continent will be more integrated, united and
prosperous.It will generate more economic growth, enhance efficiency and
support enterprise and innovation.”

 “The establishment of the CFTA is
also the first step for the African Union in the implementation of ‘Agenda
2063’ for the socio-economic transformation of the continent as well as being a
building block in the achievement of the goals of the 1991 Abuja Treaty on the
African Economic Community.”

President Buhari, who commended President Issoufou on his role as the “AU
Champion for the CFTA”, whose work “has significantly advanced our goal to
conclude and launch the CFTA,” also lauded the technical support provided by
the AU Commission, with Nigeria serving as the Chair of the Negotiating Forum
and Chairperson of the AU Ministers of Trade.