The African continental free trade agreement, AfCFTA is one of the most popular documents in Africa now.

The AfCFTA treaty is championed by the African Union and is aimed at creating a single continental market for goods and services, with free movement of business persons.

On March 21, 2018, 44 African heads of state and government officials met in Kigali, Rwanda, to sign the framework to establish the AfCFTA.

But Africa’s two biggest economies, Nigeria and South Africa, have hesitated to sign. While South Africa is making recommendations, or still consulting before it will sign, Nigeria has blatantly rejected the agreement.

There have been arguments and counter-arguments on whether Nigeria should sign the treaty or not.

The Chief Executive Officer, Rest of Africa, Standard Bank Group, Sola David-Borha, is one of those who believe Nigeria stands to gain more than it could lose by signing the treaty.

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In fact, she believes that Nigeria will be among the greatest beneficiaries of the African Continental Free Trade Area.

David-Borha, who described the AfCFTA as “very welcome” in Lagos on the sidelines of the bank’s Trans-regional Conference on Monday, regretted that Nigeria had not signed the agreement.

She however noted that there are understandable fears over the lowering of barriers since the agreement proposes up to 90% reduction in tariffs on particular goods.

“In fact, I think Nigeria will be one of the greatest beneficiaries, frankly, of the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement. It has got 200 million people. What will it do? It is going to allow goods and services to move freely across Africa, generating more economic activity.

“Yes, there are risks of, maybe, illegal elements moving but the opportunities are much greater than the risks. Africa’s ability to negotiate as a regional bloc positions them better from a geopolitical element rather than individual countries trying to negotiate,” David-Borha said.

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