Former President of Nigeria Olusegun Obasanjo has shared his disappointment with the Federal government as Nigeria is yet sign the Free Trade agreement between African countries.
Former President Obasanjo who is also Chairman, Advisory Board of the First Intra-African Trade Fair holding in Cairo, Egypt, yesterday, lamented Nigeria’s failure to sign the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), despite its leadership role in the continent.
He said it was absurd if Nigeria will not be a part of this historic trade Dr despite leading the continent since 1963. According to him, the rest of Africa is set to proceed without Nigeria in the AfCFTA.
On March 21, 2018, 44 of the 55 African Union (AU) member states gathered in Kigali, Rwanda, to sign the AfCFTA with a view to creating a single market in the continent. Once the agreement is ratified by all signatories, the trade bloc to be created would encompass 1.2 billion people and over USD $2 trillion in combined (Gross Domestic Product (GDP.)
Obasanjo while speaking at one of the interactive sessions titled a Conversation with Nigeria’s Former President said.
“I just sincerely hope and pray that Nigeria will be at the table before the implementation of the scheme begins. But the truth is that whether Nigeria is there or not, Africa has started to move forward and it cannot stop the rest of continent that have already signed the agreement.
He added: “We started it from 1963. From there we had the Lagos Plan of Action, then NEPAD, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and several others. But what has gone wrong today that Nigeria is taking the back stage in Africa’s economic integration initiative?”
“I don’t care what people say about me but I believe this is the time that we need to rise together and prove to world leaders that go with the perception that Africans live in huts and that we are shit holes, that we are human beings and the only way we can do this is by improving the standard of living of Africans.”
He, however, called on the Afreximbank leadership to continue with its effort and commitment to changing Africa, stressing that it was high time the colonial structures left by Europe and America were dismantled.
According to him, it’s only when we do that that we can be seen as human beings and not “shit holes”.
Meanwhile, Obasanjo has called on African leaders to commit more to infrastructure development, stressing that such investment would help the private sector expand its operations. (Suns News Online)
Credit: Sun News Online