KIGALI — Nigeria, Africa’s biggest economy, was conspicuous by its absence here Wednesday when African leaders signed the agreement to establish the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), the largest free trade bloc since the creation of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 1994.
President Muhammadu Buhari had decided on Sunday to cancel his trip to Rwanda following entreaties by labour unions not to sign the agreement until certain of its provisions are clarified.
A statement from Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Dr Tope Adeleye Elias-Fatile said the president cancelled his trip to Kigali to allow more inputs from Nigerian stakeholders to be received and considered.
The agreement creates a continental market of 1.2 billion people, with a combined gross domestic product (GDO) of more than 3.4 trillion US dollars.
A major goal in the agreement is to boost intra-African trade and rely less on the volatility of commodity prices that affect exports of many African countries.
The agreement was signed by 44 of the African Union’s 55 member states and the aim if for the agreement to come into force by the end of this year, said the chair of the AU Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat.
Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK