AfCFTA envoy assures mechanism to prevent trans-shipment

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By Emmanuella Anokam

Abuja  – Wamkele Mene, Secretary-General, African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Secretariat says it will put mechanism in place to trans-shipment goods into the continent in implementing the trade.

Mene made this known Tuesday at a meeting with critical private and public stakeholders in the industry, sector organised by the Office for Trade Negotiations (NOTN).

He said trans-shipment goods from countries outside the African continent posed a very negative effect, adding it would further discuss with the Nigeria Customs Service measures to such problem.

He said he would make sure two segments were carried along to benefit from a single continental market 1.2 billion during the implementation.

He noted the two segments as the inclusion of in trade and the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) because it always difficult for them to access benefits of trade agreement.

He said 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 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 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 government to tackle many challenges.

The Secretary-General had earlier paid a courtesy visit to the Minister of Industry, , 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 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 . We have to make sure that the agreement is inclusive in Africa,” he said.

The Acting -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 and intervention.

He noted that the engagement with the secretary-general aimed at addressing issues bothering the AfCFTA implementation including issues of deficit, competitiveness and conflicts.