By Emmanuella Anokam
Abuja – Wamkele Mene, Secretary-General, African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Secretariat says it will put mechanism in place to prevent trans-shipment of goods into the continent in implementing the trade.
Mene made this known on Tuesday at a meeting with critical private and public stakeholders in the industry, trade and investment sector organised by the Nigerian Office for Trade Negotiations (NOTN).
He said trans-shipment of goods from countries outside the African continent posed a very negative effect, adding that it would further discuss with the Nigeria Customs Service on measures to prevent such problem.
He said that he would make sure that two segments were carried along to benefit from a single continental market of 1.2 billion during the implementation.
He noted the two segments as the inclusion of women in trade and the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) because it was always difficult for them to access benefits of trade agreement.
He said that there would be inclusion of the informal economy into the formal economy, inclusion of the young Africans and creation of digital tools to access the continental market.
“AfCFTA is an opportunity for Nigeria to take a leadership role in trade, investment and commerce in Africa, we look forward to the day Nigeria will deposit instrument for ratification in due course.
“Africa should be optimistic about the agreement, we want to create opportunities and jobs making sure only African graduates from African universities will work in the AfCFTA secretariat
Mene, who noted mutual agreement as one of the things he would like to achieve in his visit, said the secretariat would work together with Nigerian government to tackle many challenges.
The Secretary-General had earlier paid a courtesy visit to the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Adeniyi Adebayo and called for speedy conclusion of Nigeria’s domestic processes for implementation of the intra-African trade pact, including the ratification.
Mene, while interacting with newsmen said that Nigeria could leverage on Africa’s seven trillion dollars projected Gross Domestic Project (GDP) by 2025 to grow its domestic market reaching over a billion consumers.
“AfCFTA is working hard to address concerns bothering on Rules of Origin, dumping of goods and unfair competition. We have to make sure that the agreement is inclusive in Africa,” he said.
The Acting Director-General of NOTN, Mr Victor Liman, emphasised the importance of digital tool as catalyst to drive growth, adding that regulatory policy and framework were needed to understand digital tool in boosting economy.
Liman underscored the need for a data base and formalisation of the informal sector which could be a bridge for government to enact good policies and intervention.
He noted that the engagement with the secretary-general was aimed at addressing issues bothering the AfCFTA implementation including issues of deficit, competitiveness and conflicts.