By Etuka Sunday
The African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) takes off today, marking a new dawn in Africa’s drive towards economic integration.
Today marks the realisation of a dream conceived in 1963 during the establishment of Organisation of African Unity now African Union.
Across African capitals, from East to West, and from North to South, the celebration is feverish as Africans today break decades of economic isolation by embracing unhindered trade access and interaction targeted at creating collective wealth and listing Africans out of the poverty bracket.
The President, Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI), Al-Mujtaba Abubakar in a statement said, as a leading Chamber in Nigeria, ACCI is elated to be part of this historic occasion, a process in which we actively participated from the beginning to fruition.
“We want to note that Nigeria has been fervently preparing for this day especially through the mobilisation and strategic activities of the National Committee on readiness for the AfCFTA.
“The various sub-sectoral groups have worked for months collating, designing and launching various sectoral action plans to put Nigerian private sector on strong footing for this continental programme.
“We are glad to affirm that ACCI is a strong partner all through even as we are set to ensure that the various recommendations for accelerated readiness are acted upon,” the statement said.
The statement noted that, “Nigeria as the leading economy on the continent has a historic opportunity to deepen her economic reach and depth across Africa, leveraging on her affirmed strengths in services and manufacturing sector.
“Nigerian firms are already strongly rooted in many African countries. This new dawn will only enhance rather than diminish Nigeria’s economic influence on the continent.
“It is on this note that the ACCI is re-committing itself to continuous mobilisation of her members to tap into the various sectoral action plans to enhance their capacities to trade within the context of the AfCFTA. We are also launching a Monthly AfCFTA Monitoring Review Roundtable.
“The goal is to assess development within the free trade process, assess issues of interest and address disputation in the trading process.
“We Congratulate the Federal Ministry of Trade and Investment and the leadership of Nigerian private sector. On this note, we identify with fellow Africans. Africa’s economic union is finally here,” the statement said.