Agreement

Abuja, April 23, 2019 The  African Civil Society for the Information Society (ACSIS), an NGO has  called for the implementation

of  the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA)  agreement that will open up connectivity on the continent.

Mr Peter Akinremi, who is the West Africa Regional Coordinator of ACSIS, made the call in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria

in Abuja on Tuesday.

Signed on March 21, 2018 in Kigali, Rwanda but pending ratification, AfCFTA is a trade agreement by 49 African Union (AU)

member states, with the goal of creating single market, followed by free movement and a single-currency union.

Akinremi said that the implementation of AfCFTA would eliminate differences that prevented Africans from speaking and acting as one.

He added that “the implementation of AfCFTA would translate to increased investment, employment opportunities and lead to

integration of businesses.  It is one of the best things that can happen to Africa.”

He said that the AfCFTA would enable Africans to negotiate and stand on equal footing with other countries of the world.

He noted that “a continent that comprises more than one billion people is on the rise and ready to harness the lost opportunities.

“Through this initiative, Africans can trade among themselves and by doing so, contribute to the economic development and

wellbeing of the people.”

The regional coordinator, however, lamented that in spite of the potential of the AfCFTA, a few other African countries had yet

to sign it.

He said that the countries’ refusal to sign was because they considered negative impacts of the agreement such as flood,

unfair trade and protection of domestic products.

He, however, added that “ I expect these countries to openly discuss and put proper implementation and mechanism

that could resolve some of these concerns, rather than slowing the implementation of the agreement.

“While Africa is ready to open up the continent through AfCFTA, we must be guided and be aware of any external forces

that will want to use this opportunity to divert, influence and diplomatically exploit Africa.”