When fully operational, the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement will boost exports in the continent by at least $560 billion, the federal government has said.
Senior Special Assistant to the Nigerian President on the Public Sector and Secretary, National Action Committee on (AfCFTA-NG), Mr Francis Anatogu, stated this during the first African Local Content Roundtable Conference in Yenagoa, Bayelsa state.
According to him, benefits of the AfCTA include lifting 30 million Africans out of extreme poverty; boosting income of nearly 68 million others who live on less than $5.60 a day; boosting Africa’s income by $450 billion by 2035, a gain of seven per cent and adding $76 billion to the income to the rest of the world.
“In addition , the AfCTA will see the increase in Africa’s exports by $560 billion, mostly in manufacturing, spur the larger wage gain for women to 10.5 per cent as opposed to men’s 9.9 per cent as well as boost wages for both skilled and unskilled workers,” the presidential aide said.
On imports of parts used in the oil industry, he noted that Nigeria brought in $110 million worth of tubes, pipes and hollow profiles in 2020, iron and steel tubes amounting to $160 million, refined petroleum of $7.71 billion, which accounted for 27.8 per cent of all total refined products imported in 2020, quoting the International Trade Centre (ITC).
In addition, Anatogu stated that gas valued at $110 million was brought in, representing 3.02 per cent of Africa’s total while petroleum jelly, paraffin wax among others constituted $800 million or 59.90 of the entire Africa’s import for the year.
He stated that there’s a preferential access to Africa’s goods’ market worth $504.17 billion, services valued at $162 billion, under the AfCTA, market expansion opportunities and productions growth through competition.
Anatogu emphasised that local content development remains a key component of the rules of origin of the AfCTA which simply states that for any products to be considered African or to take advantage of the African continental free trade area agreement it must meet a minimum of local content. Otherwise, the presidential aide, noted that it would not get the benefit of duty waiver and other gains that come with the AfCTA.
“It is an exciting time in Africa because everything is coming together and it’s also very exciting because we have a template. This is about creating a single market for made in Africa goods and services and it will also provide the structure for making that trade happen, provide mechanism for resolving disputes and managing injurious trade practices,” he stressed.
But he added that Africa needs research and collaboration to practlicalise this framework by talking to one another and having a checklist of things that are working and those that don’t work.
According to him, the AfCTA provides for elimination of tariff lines of over 90 per cent in the first and allows every country to receive 3 per cent of products where they have infant Industries that they want to protect.
He pointed out that by 2050, Africa will be the third most populous continent, adding that as long as Africa is import-dependent, it will continue to have issues with balance of trade, balance of payment and incessant devaluation.