The President of the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), Dr. Benedict Oramah has said that the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AFCFTA) has the potential to boost intra-African trade by 53 percent if import duties were eliminated as well as reducing non-tariff barriers.
Oramah said this on Monday while addressing newsmen at the first Intra-African trade fair in Abuja.
He stated that the AFCFTA will progressively eliminate tariffs on intra-Africa trade and make it easier for businesses to trade within the continent.
He said: “We have realised that sustainable economic growth on the continent cannot be achieved quickly without participation from both the private and public sectors.
“The private sector has a crucial role to play in making regional integration work for Africa, because though trade agreements are signed by governments, it is the private sector that understands the constraints facing enterprises and it is in a position to take advantage of the opportunities created by such agreements and regional trade initiatives”.
The President urged African Government to create more space for the private sector to play an active role in the integration process instead of leaving the sector to act as a passive participant.
Also speaking, the Executive Director, Nigerian Export Promotion Council,(NEPC), Olusegun Awolowo blamed Lack of infrastructure as a major problem militating against intra-trade activities in the African continent.
He noted that the African Continental Free Trade Agreement will eliminate tariffs on Intra-Africa trade.
Awolowo who also called on government to address the transportation deficit within the continent, said Nigeria is working towards exporting processed goods.
On her part, the Managing Director, Intra-Trade Initiative Kanayo Awani said the trade fair seeks to promote foreign direct investment in the continent.