Economist: Hello my brilliant citizen, what have you been up to?

Brilliant Citizen: My Economist, I am doing great and the year is looking good!

Economist: That is good to note. What has brightened your year?

Brilliant Citizen: Well, you know I have been thinking of alternative streams of income. Especially since my office reduced my salary, all thanks to COVID19.

Economist: Yes, I remember…

Brilliant Citizen: I have partnered with a friend for international trade business. You see, we will bring in some unique products from other countries and sell in Nigeria. It seems like cool cash is on the way!

Economist: This sounds interesting, I hope you have done your due diligence and the process adheres to government regulations?

Brilliant Citizen: Please leave government out of this, how have they helped me?

Economist: Well, government may not have lived up to all its responsibilities but there may be some opportunities to harness.

Brilliant Citizen: Which opportunities, this country, we create our own opportunities “oo”. Okay, tell me one opportunity government has created regarding this new business I am considering. Tell me!

Economist: Last month, January 2021, the AfCFTA took effect and …

Brilliant Citizen: You have come again, which one is AfCFTA?

Economist: Forgive me, it is the African Continental Free Trade Agreement.

The AfCFTA is a trade agreement enacted to promote trading within and among African countries, It targets creating a single market (largest) for the free movement of goods, services and people with the African continent. It is expected to over time eliminate tariff and non-tariff barrier to trade.

Economist: Imagine the impact it could have on trading activities in Africa! It is expected to double Africa’s share of world trade from 3% to 6% over the next 10 years*.

Brilliant Citizen: 10 years “ke”? I am starting my business next month and it does not have to be within Africa. We are looking to import the goods from China and other countries to sell within Nigeria.

Economist: AfCFTA cannot achieve its objective and impact immediately. Most countries are not yet ready for it. Each country needs to optimize the benefits of the agreement by improving its laws and production activities too.

Brilliant Citizen: Go and tell the government, let me think of how to solve my own problems.

Economist: I understand you do not see the immediate impact of the agreement, but at least think of getting some items from African countries too for your trade business. Let’s help grow our African continent.

Brilliant Citizen: Well, what other benefits do we see from this agreement?

Economist: It will create an expanded market for our goods and services promoting jobs and economic growth. You know many Nigerian companies specifically in the service sector already have the capacity to serve other African countries, this agreement will facilitate the process. Lastly, it will provide an opportunity for informal enerprises to formalize their operations.

Brilliant Citizen: Ok I see some future benefits, Anyway, before I can think of trading with other African countries there is a condition.

Economist: What is that condition?

Brilliant Citizen: Tell the government to make it easier to bring in these goods. If they frustrate us at the ports, we will not even consider African goods.

Economist: I know they need to make it easier; it is one of the objectives of AfCFTA. Don’t worry, work is in progress.

Brilliant Citizen: If you say so. Well, I am off to complete the business plan for my trade business.

(begins to sing)

We are making money, we are making money,

We are making money this year, we are making money this year

No matter what them do, things will get better this year.

This year, this year, this year.

This year, this year, this year.

My freedom this year.

Getting married this year.

This year, this year, this year.

References & Resources:

Africa’s new free trade area is promising, yet full of hurdles https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2019/09/africa-just-launched-the-world-s-largest-free-trade-area/

*Fate Foundation’s 2021 Business Outlook, Presentation by Ms. Yewande Sadiku (Executive Secretary/CEO of Nigeria Investment Promotion Commission)

The African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement — what is expected of LDCs in terms of trade liberalisation? https://www.un.org/ldcportal/afcfta-what-is-expected-of-ldcs-in-terms-of-trade-liberalisation-by-trudi-hartzenberg/

Song by Jaywon “This Year (Odun Yi)

Special thanks to Wale Olusi and Abraham Afariogun for their contribution to this article.

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