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Nigeria, key partner to AfCFTA’s success

by Haruna Gimba

By Muhammad Amaan

The African Development Bank’s (AfDB) Nigeria Country Director-General, Lamin Barrow, has reiterated the important role Nigeria played in the success of African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

He expressed optimism that President Bola Tinubu’s administration would ensure AfCFTA’s full implementation for the benefit of Nigerians and the continent at large.

“Nigeria is already a signatory and has gratified its membership. Therefore, it has not joined the group of actively trading countries.

“The processes are advanced to let Nigeria lead and AfCFTA cannot succeed without Nigeria, even though we have concerns and preoccupations concerning AfCFTA.

“Especially the need to avoid being a dumping ground and of course, all these illegal exports are close concerns,” Barrow said.

He said they also needed to consult very extensively with the private sector.

According to him, the private sector is a key stakeholder that will ensure all the necessary arrangements are in place to prepare the nation for AfCFTA.

“I think all these things have been done, and the new government and leadership have reaffirmed their strong commitment to AfCFTA.

“You can see they are robust African policies and we expect Nigeria to continue to play its leadership role even in this government,” he said.

On project timelines, Barrow, reiterated its importance while adding that it helped in the speedy realisation of projects.

He said, ‘There are timeliness because the sponsors want to get these deals financed and close the deals urgently depending on the level of readiness.

“The Lagos -Abidjan corridor for example, is a public sector driven project with a lot of private sector participation through concessional finance.

“The investment interest was confirmed last year in AIF; Right now, it is in the advanced stage of preparation.

“We have to complete these concessional studies with feasibility studies to be able to close the financing that has been expressed in terms of interest by various private sector operators.”

According to Barrow, it is expected that by mid 2024, these projects will be sufficiently advanced to reach financing decisions.

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