The Nigerian government on Wednesday ratified the country's membership of the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AfCFTA) created for a single continental market for goods and services, with free movement of business persons and investments within the African region.
With the ratification, Nigeria has beaten the Dec. 5 deadline set for all countries to ratify their membership of the intra-Africa trade deal.
President Muhammadu Buhari supervised the ratification process during the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting which he headed at the Presidential Villa, said Lai Mohammed, minister for information and culture.
On July 7, 2019, Nigeria signed the AfCFTA agreement in Niamey during the 12th extraordinary session of the Assembly of the African Union. The operational phase of the AfCFTA was launched on the same day.
The effective date for the agreement to come into force ought to have been July 2020, however, it was postponed to Jan. 1, 2021 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
All member states were given up to Dec. 5 to ratify the agreement.
"That is precisely what Nigeria did today (Wednesday). The FEC approved the ratification of the country's membership of the AfCFTA," said Mohammed.
"Effectively, we hope that by Jan. 1, 2021, the agreement will come into force," the minister added.