AfCFTA will promote made in Africa Goods — Perm Sec

Dr Ernest Umakhihe

By Mbafan Ade (ABUJA) –

Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Ernest Umakhihe, has announced that that inauguration of the Technical Working Group of the African Continental Free Trade Area ( AfCFTA) for Agriculture and Agribusiness work stream will  promote made in Africa Goods and Services.

He made this known in a statement issued on Friday at the inauguration of the Technical Working Group (TWG) in Abuja by Mrs Mabel Mbosire, a Senior Information officer in the ministry.

He said that the initiative would create a single continental market as well as reduce tariff and the application of non- tariff barriers to trade among African countries.

He said that AfCFTA agreement would be the largest trade and investment block agreement since the creation of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

“These opportunities will boost intra African trade among 1.2 billion people and a cumulative Gross Domestic Product of 3.4 trillion dollars.

“Particularly, UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) envisages a potential increase in African Trade by 52 per cent in 2022,’’ he said.

Umakhihe noted that the National Action Committee (NAC) of the AfCFTA was constituted by President Muhammadu Buhari on Dec. 20, 2019, to coordinate inclusive implementation processes for relevant stakeholders to assess the trade readiness and expected interventions.

“The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development is a member of the productive Sector Steering Committee for the AfCFTA, impact and readiness study.

“While the Minister of State is serving on the Steering Committee of the NAC on AfCFTA Champion for Agriculture, and I am the team lead for the Agric and Agribusiness Work stream.’’

Mr Abdulahi Zubairu, the Director, Planning and Policy Coordination Department (P&PC), said the implementation of a common market in the context of the AfCFTA as a trade block would require a great deal of synergy among stakeholders in the Agricultural sector.

According to him, this will enable them to utilise the opportunities presented to drive comparative and competitive advantage.

“It is in the above contest that a Ministerial TWG was conceived to coordinate all intrinsic and extrinsic issues in the sector along the respective Value Chain.

“This is a deliberate initiative to track, document with empirical precision report on progress to guide the sector toward taking its rightful position in the AfCFTA process,’’ he said.

Responding on behalf of the TWG, Mr Ibrahim Tanimu, the Chairman of the Group and Deputy Director in the Ministry, promised that the committee would work assiduously to ensure that Agricultural component of the AfCFTA delivers on its mandates.

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