West Africa: Buhari Calls for Ecowas Commitment as AfCFTA Begins Jan 2021

President Muhammadu Buhari has called for the commitments of member states of the Economic Community of West Africa State (ECOWAS) as the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement begins on January 1.

Buhari made the call at the 13th Extra-Ordinary Summit of the African Union Assembly of Heads of State and Government held virtually on Saturday.

Buhari, who was represented by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama, said that the successful commencement of the trade in January 2021 was indeed a fulfillment of the collective dreams of Africa’s founding fathers.

He said that the AfCFTA sought to achieve better, united, peaceful and prosperous Africa, adding that any abuse of the rule could affect trade relations, cause disorder, regional and geopolitical tensions and reduced economic growth.

Buhari pledged Nigeria’s commitments in taking all the necessary steps towards the effective commencement of the trading on Jan. 1, 2021.

“In view of Nigeria’s strategic role in our collective efforts to build the Africa we want, the Nigerian government has taken bold steps to ratify the AfCFTA.

“It is, however, pertinent to remind us of the need to preserve the agreed rule we are putting in place, to ensure that there is no breakdown or abuse of the rules based continental free trade framework.

“We must, therefore, work assiduously to encourage probity, transparency, and promote a shared and inclusive prosperity for all Africans,” he said.

According to him, Nigeria is keenly aware of her role in deepening intra-Africa trade and making it a success. We remain open to transparently work with our brothers and sisters across Africa in the spirit of cooperation.

“To deepen Continental Integration through the free movement of goods, natural and legal persons across the continent we must remain strident and committed in our support for the instrument while timeously addressing actions that could lead to breakdown of rules-based African Continental Free Trade Area.

“The successful commencement of trade in January 2021 is indeed the fulfilment of the collective dreams of our founding fathers, for a better, united, peaceful and prosperous Africa.

“Let us, therefore, keep in mind that any form of abuse of the rules that undermine our borders and affect our markets could be a recipe for strained trade relations, disorder regional and geopolitical tensions and reduces economic growth,” Buhari said.