LAGOS – Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday said Africa needs not only a trade policy but also a continental manufacturing agenda.
The Nigerian leader made this known in Abuja, the nation's capital, after the presidency announced that the biggest economy in Africa will sign the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) at the coming African Union (AU) extraordinary summit.
"Our vision for intra-African trade is for the free movement of 'made in Africa goods'. That is, goods and services made locally with dominant African content in terms of raw materials and value addition," a statement reaching Xinhua quoted Buhari as saying.
He said the Nigerian government would be seeking to include terms that engender the development of policies that promote African production, among other benefits. "If we allow unbridled imports to continue, it will dominate our trade.
The implication of this is that coastal importing nations will prosper while landlocked nations will continue to suffer and depend on aid," he said. Nigeria, the largest economy on the continent, is one of the countries that is yet to sign the regional trade agreement.
The AfCFTA aims to eliminate tariffs among member states, create a market of 1.2 billion people with a combined gross domestic product (GDP) of more than $2.2 trillion.
According to earlier reports by local media, Nigeria had expressed concern the agreement could allow neighboring countries to inundate Nigeria with low-priced goods, and frustrate efforts to encourage moribund local manufacturing and expand farming.