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Nigeria to have inclusive consultations before agreeing to Africa trade zones

African leaders agreed on Wednesday to form a USD 3 trillion continental free-trade zone encompassing 1.2 billion people.


Nigeria to have inclusive consultations before agreeing to Africa trade zones
The omissions were a blow to African Union plans to cut back red tape and other barriers. (Image Credit: Youtube)

Nigeria decided not join an Africa free trade zone last week because it needs to carry out more consultations at home first, the government said on Tuesday.

African leaders agreed on Wednesday to form a USD 3 trillion continental free-trade zone encompassing 1.2 billion people, but its two biggest economies, Nigeria and South Africa, did not sign up, diminishing its impact.

The African Union started talks in 2015 to establish a 55-nation bloc that would be the biggest in the world by member states, in a bid to increase intra-regional trade, which sits at a measly 15 percent of Africa's total commerce.

The project needed a minimum of 22 countries signing up to get off the ground.

Also Read | Nigeria, South Africa resisting USD 3 tn continental free trade zones

The omissions were a blow to African Union plans to cut back red tape and other barriers that have strangled trade between African states - which amounts to just 15 percent of total commerce on the continent.

It did not go into any details on the nature of the consultations.

South Africa did immediately comment on its reasons last week. Others staying on the sidelines were: Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, Zambia, Burundi, Eritrea, Benin, Sierra Leone and Guinea Bissau.

(With inputs from Reuters)


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