Nigeria Signs the African Continental Free Trade Area: What Next?

Two common expressions that have gained currency in trade parlance, “les absents ont toujours tort” (absent people are always wrong), and “if you are not at the table, you are on the menu” may best describe the situation in which Nigeria found itself, following its refusal to sign the agreement establishing the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

Despite having played a pivotal leadership role in the negotiation of the AfCFTA, with the support of some of its finest trade technocrats, it was with great surprise that news was received of Nigeria’s absence from the signing ceremony at which 44 African countries signed the AfCFTA. The Federal Government’s response was that broad consultations, which followed the signing ceremony, were required to sensitize stakeholders to the obligations Nigeria was to assume by its membership of the AfCFTA.

Since Nigeria has now signed the AfCFTA on the 7th of July 2019, the pertinent question is: what next for Nigeria?

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