The Secretary General of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Secretariat, Mr. Wamkele Mene, has commended efforts of Nigeria's government to establish trade remedy authorities that would investigate and address issues of origin and prevent dumping under the implementation of the AfCFTA agreement.
He said this during a courtesy visit to the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) recently.
Mene, observed that Nigeria was at advanced stage of establishing the agencies, which would enable it to join Egypt and South Africa as the only countries that have such arrangement in the continent.
He said: "At the moment only Egypt and South Africa have their trade remedy authorities ready, and this has the ability to prevent dumping and address many other challenges associated with inter-African trade.
"Nigeria is at the advance stage of establishing a trade recovery remedy authority and this is a very positive step."
He assured members of the LCCI that the AfCFTA's secretariat would address the challenges arising from the rules of origin under the agreement in order to protect economies of participating nations from dumping of products, amongst others and called for capacity building for the custom authorities across the continent for effective implementation of the trade rules of the AfCFTA.
Mene, also said the AfCFTA would accelerate the continent's recovery from the negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic disease and strengthens the continent's industralisation growth and development agenda as well as its participation in international trade.
He added: "By 2035, the objectives of the AfCFTA, will put Africa on the path to industrial development and we are building capacity to diversify our exports within and outside the continent."
The secretary general also said the AfCFTA would contribute to the realisation of the prediction of the International Monetary Fund that the continent would grow by 2.1 per cent in 2022 with a successful roll out of the vaccines.
He observed that Africa has been growing at the rate of 3.4 per cent annually and was the home of six out of 10 fastest growing economies of the world before the onset of the pandemic.
However, "with COVID-19, we went from that to a contraction of a magnitude that we have not had in about 30 years," he said.
In her remarks, the President of the LCCI, Mrs. Toki Mabogunje, said the AfCFTA was largely a story of immense excitement and expectation among the Nigerian business community because of its inherent opportunities.
Mabogunje said the AfCFTA would make the continent more integrated, united and prosperous, especially in the light of the numerous benefits of a larger market.
"The chamber believes it's an opportunity for countries to scale up their competitiveness by improving their investment climate. Ultimately, it would be to the benefit of the economies of the continent and the welfare of our citizens," she said.