The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Niyi Adebayo on Thursday stated that African Continent Free Trade Area has the potential to boost consumer and business spending in Africa up to the tune of $6.7tn and drive huge foreign direct investments.
Adebayo stated this while outlining federal government’s intervention programmes to improve the country’s trade relations with India.
According to a statement by his Special Adviser, Media, Ifedayo Sayo disclosed this while addressing stakeholders at the address CII_EXIM Bank Conclave on India and Africa Project Partnership with the theme: “Harnessing the Africa-India Opportunity: Connect, Create, Collaborate”.
The statement read, “Africa Yet to Realise True Potentials in Trade Relations with India, Adebayo””
The minister lamented that even though India is Africa’s third largest trading partner, most African countries have not realized their true potential in their bilateral trade with the country.
He therefore encouraged the countries in Africa to boost their trade relations with India, adding that the Asian country has a catalytic role to play in Africa’s collective efforts to boost its manufacturing exports.
He said: “As you may be aware, India is now Africa’s third largest trading partner. Yet the bilateral trade data and patterns suggest the true potentials have not yet been realized as African countries predominantly export raw crude oil and other extractive resources to India.
“In the light of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement, as African countries aim to reduce their economic dependence on resource trade, India could play a catalytic role in Africa’s collective efforts to boost the region’s manufacturing and service exports.”
“To improve the trade relations with India, the the Federal Government has prepared an intervention program articulated in the form of an implementation plan relative to the different sectors in the economy.
“Government economic policy favors and places priority on greater trade and investment in Agricultural Production and Agro- Processing Industries, Construction, Tourism, Manufacturing and Export.
“These Investment Opportunities are embedded in the following Sectors of Nigerian Economy: Agriculture, Solid Minerals, Tourism, Power Sector, Construction and Transportation.
“Furthermore, the Federal Government through the National Action Committee on AfCFTA is also working towards setting up AfCFTA implementation Focal Desks in States and have urged state governments to explore their areas of comparative advantages for economic growth and job creation.”
“AfCFTA has great potential of creating a combined consumer and business spending of about $6.7 trillion, while offering some of the world’s biggest opportunities for attracting Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). According to the United Nations Commission for Africa (UNECA), the AfCFTA has the potential to boost intra-African trade by 52 percent by 2022.”
The minister concluded his remark by emphasizing the need for India and Africa to undertake joint actions to promote synergies and coordination among the different sectors of the economy.