LCCI moves to tap into the potential of AfCTA

Poised to tap into the potential of African Continental Free Trade (AFCTA), Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has concluded plans to organise a forum on the benefits of the trade treaty for African economies and its citizens.

The forum, tagged “AfCTA: A road map to A Successful Implementation”, will hold on-site and virtually Tuesday, 16th March 2021, at the LCCI Commerce House, located on Idowu Taylor Street, Victoria Island, Lagos State.

A statement by LCCI, the premier Chamber of Commerce in West Africa and a leading voice in public advocacy, said because of the Covid-19 pandemic and the need to observe protocols, “the event will be a hybrid form, both on site and virtual”.

For the on-site, only 50 guests will be permitted in adherence to the Covid-19 guidelines.

Meanwhile, the reputable commerce body has said that “the forum became necessary in view of the need for it to continuously explore ways of creating a conducive business environment in Nigeria for businesses through positive engagement of the public and the private sector”.

According to LCCI, in 2018, African countries came together to establish the African Continental Free Trade Agreement with trade commencing from January 1 2021.

“The new market created under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AFCTA) agreement is estimated to be as large as 1.3 billion people across Africa, with combined gross domestic product (GDP) of $3.4 trillion. AfCTA will create a single market for goods and services, in hopes of boosting trade among nations.

“The agreement is to work towards a continental customs union, eliminate tariffs on 90% of intra-Africa goods, aid in the movement of capital and people between countries, facilitate external investment, and reduce non-tariff barriers such as the time it takes goods to pass through customs.

“AfCTA has the potential to increase intra-African trade by over 50%, according to the UN Economic Commission for Africa, while the World Bank suggests the agreement could mean an added $76 billion in income for the rest of the world.”

Despite the clear benefits and historic accomplishment, experts say the agreement will face a few hurdles in practice like a lack of modern and efficient infrastructure, unclear information about processes as well as the economic destruction brought on by Covid-19 that could reverse years of progress in the region. Some also fear that large economic gains made in the diverse economies will be unequally distributed.


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