AU woos Nigeria over free trade

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African Union

The African Union (AU) has begun wooing Nigeria to rescind its decision to delay the signing of the controversial African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCTA).

The Chairman of AU, Mr Moussa Faki, is currently in Nigeria to visit and convince all the relevant authorities, including President Muhammadu Buhari, to see reasons.

The chairperson said one of the reasons for his visit was to discuss with Buhari, the issue of AfCTA, yet to be signed by Nigeria.

Nigeria refused to sign the agreement in July as it was believed that it would expose industries and small businesses to external pressures and competitions, which could lead to closures and job losses.

“One the reasons for the visit are to discuss with the president on the African free trade that is yet to be signed.

“We have to realise that Nigeria is one the important countries in Africa and Nigeria is committed to the development of the continent.

He said that Nigeria needed to be involved in pushing the AfCTA agenda for the benefit of the whole continent.

He also expressed excitement with the relentless battle against corruption in Nigeria and Africa in spite of all the odds.

After a closed door meeting with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, in Abuja, Faki explained Faki that African head of states decided to appoint President Buhari as the champion in their struggle against corruption because of his administration’s commitment in the fight against corruption.

The AU Chairperson came for a two-day official visit to Nigeria from Oct. 25th to Oct. 26th.

“They know that he is very committed and dedicated not only in Nigeria but in the whole continent and his style of leadership I am happy to work with him,” he said.

Onyeama in his remarks said that the visit of the chairperson was significant because Africa is central in the Nigeria foreign policy adding that AU is extremely important to Nigeria.

He said that the chairperson had good ideas of achieving various goals of AU and Nigeria would support him to achieve the goals.

“There is a road map and he has a vision for Africa and its development.

“There is 2063 agenda which is a road map that we hope will lead to peace and security on the continent. The road map is to silence the gun, by 2020,” he said.

According to him, there is also the Sustainable Development Goals agenda, and that of economic development on continent.

“It is now a question of implementing these goals to achieve them and the desire of Africa.

“There is a reform process that AU is involved to meet its challenges and that is a very important process for all the members to be engaged in.

“We are supporting him, he has very clear vision, and clear idea of how to achieve these goals and Nigeria is a very integral part of that process,” he said.