AfDB: Nigerian government in talks with private sector on AfCFTA

port 675539 640AfDB has strongly condemned the story by Sahara Reporters on 16 June 2019 that quoted Abdu Mukhtar, director of industrial and trade development of the AfDB, to have allegedly said that the Nigerian government does not understand African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA)

“We want to state in clear terms that this is an exercise in journalistic mischief,” said AfDB.

“The Bank official did not make such a statement. At no time did Dr Mukhtar speak with Sahara Reporters. On the contrary, he had a brief session with The Guardian, News Agency of Nigeria and Daily Trust newspaper at the recently concluded Annual Meetings of the Bank in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea.”

As the journalists had sought Muhktar's views on the importance of ACFTA for African countries, including Nigeria, Dr Mukhtar made the following clarifications:

- The Bank's understanding is that the Nigeria government is consulting with the private sector, the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria and other critical stakeholders, which the Bank considers to be a step in the right direction.

- While initiatives such as AfCFTA include discussions with multiple major stakeholders, the AfDB is optimistic that Nigeria, the continent's most populous country, will soon conclude consultations, ratify and join the AfCFTA

- Nigeria is an important member of the African Development Bank and an important country for AfCFTA

- Mukhtar spoke about regional integration, entrepreneurship and the role of the private sector in the Bank's transformative agenda.

The AfDB remains committed to supporting Africa and the AfCFTA initiative but respects the choice of each country.

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