President Buhari on Sunday inNiamey, the capital of Niger Republic, signed the African Continental Free Trade Area, AfCFTA, Agreement on behalf of Nigeria with a call for free and fair trading in Africa.
A statement by the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the President, Chief Femi Adesina, stated that President Buhari appended his signature to the treaty at exactly 10: 47 a.m. in the presence of African Heads of State and Government, delegates and representatives from the private sector, civil society and the media attending the 12th Extraordinary Summit of the African Union on Launch of the Operational Phase of the AfCFTA summit.
In his remarks shortly after signing the agreement, the President declared that Nigeria’s commitment to trade and African integration have never been in doubt nor was it ever under threat.
He told the Summit that Nigeria will build on the event by proceeding expeditiously with the ratification of the AfCFTA.
‘‘Nigeria wishes to emphasize that free trade must also be fair trade. As African leaders, our attention should now focus on implementing the AfCFTA in a way that develops our economies and creates jobs for our young, dynamic and hardworking population” he said.
‘‘I wish to assure you, that Nigeria shall sustain its strong leadership role in Africa, in the implementation of the AfCFTA. We shall also continue to engage, constructively with all African countries to build the Africa that we want,’’ President Buhari further said.
Meanwhile, with Nigeria and Benin Republic signing the Agreement at the Summit, 54 out of 55 African countries have signed the world’s largest free trade area deal, encompassing 55 countries and 1.2 billion people.
Eritrea is the only African country yet to sign the agreement. A total of 26 African countries have deposited instruments of ratification, with Gabon being the latest after depositing her instrument of ratification during the Extraordinary Summit.
The AfCFTA Agreement entered into force on May 30, 2019 thirty days after having received the twenty-second instrument of ratification on 29 April, 2019 in conformity with legal provision.
The Federal Government provided 47 vehicles and military equipment to the government of Niger Republic as assistance towards the successful hosting of the 12th Extraordinary Session of the Assembly of the Union on African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
The items which were donated at the request of the the Nigerien government, include 100 bullet proof vests worth 2.8 million CFA, five Toyota Coastal buses and two Armoured Personnel Carriers (APCs).
Also donated for the purpose of the events but to be returned to Nigeria are 40 other vehicles of different brands