Unlocking Opportunities: S’East exporters urged to maximize AfCFTA for non-oil trade

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Exporters in the South East region have received counsel on leveraging the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) to expand their non-oil exports.

Advised against taking shortcuts, they are encouraged to prioritize thorough documentation of their goods to ensure proper compensation.

The AfCFTA, ratified by 53 out of 54 African Union member countries, aims to facilitate seamless cross-border trade, fostering production and exchange of vital commodities and services across the continent.

During a sensitization seminar organized by the Aba zonal office of the Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC), South East Zone, Mr. Kelechi Adiele, Head of Development Finance at the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in Umuahia, delivered a paper titled “AfCFTA Market Opportunities: Prospects and Challenges.” He stressed the importance of understanding the trade initiatives outlined in the agreement to benefit fully from it.

Representing Adiele, Mr. Ekene Oforah highlighted the interest of numerous African nations in tapping into Nigeria’s vast market and emphasized the seminar’s role in educating exporters on the requirements for accessing government incentives tied to trade agreements.

The seminar, graced by Abia State Commissioner for Trade, Dr. Chikezie Ukaegbu, aimed to enlighten participants on the advantages of diversifying into non-oil ventures.

Chief Jerry Kalu, the former president of Aba Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines, and Agriculture (ACCIMA), commended the Federal Government’s involvement in creating a unified free market across Africa. He emphasized the need for localizing the benefits of the trade agreement by enhancing infrastructure to facilitate access to regions rich in solid minerals and agricultural produce.

With a combined GDP estimated at $3.4 trillion and a population of 1.3 billion, the AfCFTA holds immense potential for boosting intra-African trade and economic growth. By adhering to proper procedures and maximizing available resources, South East exporters stand poised to capitalize on this historic opportunity.

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