Nigeria is set to host Africa Trade Forum 2018

24124979247 71054bc8aa zOkechukwu Enelamah, Nigeria's minister of Industry, Trade and Investment. (Image source: WTO/Flickr)The Africa Trade Forum 2018, set to take place on 2-3 November 2018 in Lagos, will discuss the process for realising the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA)

The Africa Trade Forum 2018, will be hosted by Nigeria’s Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, and co-organised by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), the Rockefeller Foundation, and the African Union Commission (AUC).

The Forum will bring together stakeholders from across the continent, from political and governance spheres, the private sector and entrepreneurs, philanthropies, academia, researchers, and development partners.

The AfCFTA was signed in March 2018 by 44 African countries.

It is said to be the biggest trade agreement signed since the World Trade Organisation (WTO) was established, bringing together 1.3 billion people with a combined gross domestic product (GDP) of more than US$2 trillion in a single market. The agreement aims to provide improved competition and lower business costs.

The Forum’s purpose is to look into the challenges and opportunities of the AfCFTA in individual African states and to better understand how AfCFTA can drive economic development and prosperity on the continent for all of Africa’s citizens.

Okechukwu Enelamah, Nigeria’s minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, said, “The idea of an integrated African market to industrialise Africa, spur growth, enhance welfare and create jobs has been around for a long time.”

“With the actual emergence of the AfCFTA in 2018, the decision was taken by the Government to mobilise stakeholders in the Nigerian economy to understand its details, interpret its opportunities and reorganise our economic system for coherence and coordination, if the opportunities of the AfCFTA are to be realised and maximised. This Forum is a unique opportunity to proactively engage with a wide range of stakeholders to ensure that AfCFTA works for Nigeria,” he added.

The AfCFTA offers a long-awaited platform for Africa to ramp up its industrialisation through various channels such as eliminating tariffs on intra-African trade, which will result in more competitive services that reduce business costs, improve business efficiency, and enhance value to consumers.

According to ECA studies, through AfCFTA, industrialisation will help create employment for Africa’s growing youth population, thereby improving livelihoods, access to education and health.

The agreement is also expected to lead to booming multi-sectoral growth in areas including agriculture, where the AfCFTA will provide opportunities to drive agri-business and provide access to new regional markets for farmers and regional agro-value chains.

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