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Minister urges MSMEs to explore AfCFTA opportunities

Ololade Omosan-Agie

The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr. Adeniyi Adebayo has called for the sensitisation of the Medium, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) on the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) to enable them benefit from the continental market.

The minister, while commenting on a report on, “Continental Integration and the Nigerian Economy,” during a roundtable on AfCFTA agreement, which was organised by the Nigeria’s Employers Consultative Association (NECA) in Abuja, reiterated the need to fill the knowledge gap on the possible effects of AfCFTA on the economy.

The report was based on the surveys conducted for 1,800 MSMEs in five states, covering multiple sociocultural zones, to evaluate the awareness and preparedness of MSMEs for the implementation of the agreement.

Adebayo said: “The survey results disclosed that the majority of MSMEs are unaware of the existence of the trade agreement, especially smaller businesses. This is an important finding for the nation, as this lack of knowledge will prevent their successful utilization of the agreement.

“The key takeaway is that more needs to be done to adequately disseminate information to our MSMEs to ensure that they are effectively prepared in the post-integration era.”

He said AfCFTA had the capacity to boost intra-African trade and is expected to deliver an integrated continental market, consisting of 1.27 billion consumers with an aggregate GDP of $3.4 trillion.

He pointed out that Nigeria, as the largest economy in Africa, has the potential to greatly increase its trading volumes, production capacity and generation of foreign investments.
The minister said: “However, as a country, we can only fully benefit from this opportunity if we are adequately prepared for the impending changes that will affect our business environment. It is necessary that we understand the full-scale impact that AfCFTA will have on all people and businesses, especially in terms of job creation and economic activities.

“We need to effectively utilise the opportunities that will be created by this trade agreement to develop our local production capacity and achieve our industrial aspirations.”
In a statement by his media aide, Mr. Ifedayo Sayo, he said MSMEs form the backbone of the private sector and contribute more than 90 per cent of GDP.

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