President Muhammadu Buhari cautioned that the Economic Group of West African States (ECOWAS) must not misuse the Agreement on the African Continental Free Trade Region (ACFTA). The trade agreement shall begin on 1 January 2021.Buhari spoke at the 13th Extraordinary Summit of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union, held virtually on Saturday.Represented by Geoffrey Onyeama, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Buhari expressed enthusiasm at the start of the agreement.The Nigerian leader said it was the fulfilment of the common aspirations of the founding fathers of Africa.He stressed that any breach of the rule could affect trade ties, cause disarray, regional and geopolitical tensions and reduce economic growth.
“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 on the continental free trade framework.”
Buhari noted that Nigeria is conscious of its role in deepening intra-African trade and making it a success. He promised that the largest nation in Africa remained open to work with all African nations.