The board of the African Development Bank has approved an institutional support grant of $4.8m to the African Union, to accelerate the momentum of the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement.
AfCFTA received its 22nd ratification on April 2, bringing the agreement into force.
Nigeria, has however been assessing the impact the AfCFTA would have on its economy, before ratifying the agreement.
The AfCFTA is a major force for continental integration aimed at expanding intra-African trade by up to $35bn per year and ushering in freedom of movement for goods, services and people across the continent’s internal borders.
The agreement, which comes with a regime of reduced tariffs and non-tariff barriers to cut the cost of doing business on the continent is also aimed at boosting agriculture and industrial exports by up to $66bn per year.
AfDB’s grant is targeted at laying the institutional foundation for the AfCFTA’s implementation secretariat and the roll out of the implementation programmes.
The Manager, Trade and Investment Climate Division, AfDB, Andoh Mensah, said, “The momentum is now in full swing. It is now crucial to establish a robust, efficient, purpose-driven secretariat, capable of addressing improved stakeholder engagement, inclusiveness and ownership in the AfCFTA implementation.”
The bank stated that the grant would also assist efforts towards full ratification of the agreement by all AU member states including the application of tariff reductions and related commitments, while generating stakeholder support for the AfCFTA to ensure inclusiveness and common ownership.
During an Africa trade forum on AfCFTA ratification and implementation in Lagos, the Minister for Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr. Okechukwu Enelamah, said Nigeria was following developments on AfCFTA keenly.
“We have our eyes not just on the ball, but on the entire game. We are very much in technical play,” he said.
The minister said that a presidential committee had been established on AfCFTA’s impact assessment and preparedness of Nigeria.
The Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria had however encouraged the government to ratify the AfCFTA, which was designed to create a single continental market for goods and services as well as the free movement of business persons and investments across the continent.