The success of a continental free-trade deal hinges on Africa developing its manufacturing base, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari said.
Africa’s largest economy won’t rush into joining the Africa Continental Free Trade Area until it finishes extensive consultations with all stakeholders, Buhari said Thursday in Abuja, the capital. The AfCFTA agreement will only succeed if the continent develops policies that promote production, he said while receiving the report of a committee set up to consider whether the country should join the trade pact.
Nigeria is one of 29 countries yet to sign the agreement seeking to boost intra-African trade, stimulate investment and innovation. The committee urged Buhari to sign the deal, ThisDay newspaper reported Friday, citing panel head Desmond Guobadia.
“Africa needs not only a trade policy, but also a continental manufacturing agenda,” Buhari said. “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.”
The trade area should not only create wealth for investors, but also prosperity for Africans, Buhari said.
“The benefits of economic growth must be prosperity for the masses,” he said.