Nigeria: Nigeria Border Closure - Ghana to Leverage AfCFTA to Reduce Impact

Photo: AU
The AU's 12th Extraordinary Summit on AfCFTA (file photo).
11 October 2019

Nigeria's decision to close its borders to neighbouring Benin may be a bigger problem than envisaged.

This is because other countries including Ghana are feeling the bite of the action, albeit remotely.

The development becomes more alarming when the continent is working on a common trade market, the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

But the Ghana Exports Promotion Authority has disclosed that it will work to avert any adverse impact on Ghana's export business.

Deputy CEO of GEPA, Albert Kassim Diwura explained in an interview with citifm on the outfit's initial reactions to Nigeria's decision.

"It has always been like that but it is now well pronounced... the bigger weights will always like to bulldoze their way and this is why I think that AfCTA is the way to go," he remarked.

Nigeria has since August closed its southern borders to traders coming into or out of the country.

No official reasons have been offered yet to back the decision.

Considering the fact that Nigeria is the most populous country in West Africa, persons who export to the country may be hit hard with this decision.

Nigeria ranks fourth in terms of the top ten export destinations for Ghana, in ECOWAS.

This does not undermine the need to pay attention to Nigeria's decision considering the quest by the Ghana Export Promotion Authority to boost Ghana's exports, particularly non-traditional ones.

To some, the development may not be surprising since Nigeria virtually delayed in signing and ratifying the African Continental Free Trade Agreement.

The size of the economy in terms of market could also have influenced attempts not to open up to all countries for goods that the country may also have competitive advantage in.

In all these, the Deputy GEPA boss shares what the outfit may be doing in the interim to address all issues before AfCTFTA completely takes off next year.

"For us, it is just wise that we position ourselves strategically, follow all due protocols and take advantage. The standards must be met and definitely, once they have signed unto the AfCFTA, all these problems will be solved," he added.

The agreement initially requires members to remove tariffs from 90% of goods, allowing free access to commodities, goods, and services across the continent.

The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa estimates that the agreement will boost intra-African trade by 52 per cent by 2022.

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