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NOTN Kicks Off AfCFTA Stakeholders’ Sensitization and Consultation in All Zones

• Kano Stakeholders Forum for the Northwest Geopolitical Zone endorses the Agreement establishing the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). In pursuant to the directive of President Buhari to deepen AfCFTA sensitisation, NOTN today commenced Stakeholders’ Sensitization and Consultation across the six geopolitical zones starting in Kano Sate; North-West zone. Decision to establish the AfCFTA was taken in 2012 by all Heads of State and Government of the African Union (AU) at its 18th Ordinary Session. Actual Negotiating Progress started with Nigeria’s Leadership in 2017 when Ambassador Osakwe was elected Chairman of the 54-member Negotiating Forum in Niamey, Niger, on June 5th 2017 during the 6th cycle of the negotiations for the AfCFTA. The seasoned negotiator and diplomat at the time he was elected, said: “the responsibility we have is a major challenge and at the same time a unique opportunity to contribute to growth, job creation and poverty reduction in Africa. Concluding the AfCFTA is also of necessity, for improving intra-African trade as part of a broader response to a global economy in rapid and uncertain change.” AfCFTA are in two stages: Stage 1 covers Trade in Goods and Services; while Stage 2 covers intellectual property, competition policy and investment. Stage 1 negotiations chaired by Nigeria’s Chief Trade Negotiator, Ambassador Osakwe, were concluded by the 10th Negotiating Forum on 8th of March 2018 and adopted by African Ministers of Trade (AMOT) chaired by Nigeria’s Minister Enelamah and forwarded to the AU Executive Council of Foreign Ministers of AU. At the Extraordinary Summit of African Union Heads of State and Government held on March 21st, 2018 in Kigali Rwanda, the Agreement establishing the AfCFTA was adopted and signed by 44 Members of the African Union. The Declaration launching the AfCFTA was signed by 43 AU Members. Since Kigali, Ghana and Rwanda have ratified the AfCFTA. Upon entry into Force, with the deposit of 22 instruments of ratification, the AfCFTA shall be the largest Free Trade Area (FTA) in the global economy. This will boost job creation through increased intra-African Trade and expand market access for Nigeria’s exporters of goods and services, covering a market of over a billion Africans with a combined GDP of US$2.5 trillion. Speaking at the AfCFTA Northwest Zonal sensitization and consultation in Kano, His Excellency, the Executive Governor of Kano State, Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje represented by the SSG, Alhaji Usman said: “Kano State is willing and committed to taking further specific steps to reactivate and update historic trade corridors with the objective of using these corridors to boost Nigerian exports and intra-African trade.” Speaking further he “urged participants to take advantage of African Continental Free Trade Area for the economic growth and betterment of their respective states, Nigeria and Africa in general” On his part, Director General/Chief Negotiator NOTN, Ambassador Chiedu Osakwe stated that “the AfCFTA is the result of Nigeria’s leadership. In implementing the Directive of President Buhari to sensitive and consult nation-wide, we shall make the AfCFTA count in the range of efforts underway to trigger a catapult effect for Nigeria’s growth and job creation. Today, Kano, for the Northwest, caused a first class lift off.” The AfCFTA when fully implemented, Nigeria stands to benefit from rules-based trade governance in intra-African trade to ensure fair trade and legal right to use trade remedies to safeguard the Nigerian economy from dumping and injurious trade practices. As estimated by United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), AfCFTA will expand the size of Africa’s economy to US$29 trillion by 2050. Nigeria as the biggest economy in Africa stands to benefit tremendously from this.