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Why Did Nigeria Not Sign the Free Trade Agreement

Nigeria, the largest economy in Africa, surprised many when it decided against signing the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA). This agreement, which was signed by 54 of the 55 African Union member states, aims to create a single market for goods and services, as well as facilitate the movement of people and investments throughout the continent.

So, why did Nigeria not sign the free trade agreement?

One of the key reasons is the fear of dumping. Nigeria has a large manufacturing sector, which could be negatively impacted by the influx of cheaper goods from other African countries. In fact, many Nigerian manufacturers have already voiced concerns that they will struggle to compete with their counterparts in other African countries that have lower production costs.

Another issue is the lack of infrastructure. Nigeria has struggled to develop its infrastructure, particularly its transportation and power sectors. Without proper infrastructure, the country may not be able to take full advantage of the benefits of the free trade agreement.

Additionally, Nigeria has a history of protecting its domestic industries. The country has imposed tariffs and other trade barriers to protect its industries from foreign competition. The free trade agreement would require Nigeria to reduce or eliminate some of these restrictions, which could be seen as a threat to its local industries.

Moreover, Nigeria`s government felt that it was not fully consulted during the negotiation process. The country`s trade minister, Okechukwu Enelamah, stated that Nigeria was still conducting its due diligence on the agreement and had not yet finalized its position.

Finally, there are political considerations. Nigeria is currently gearing up for national elections, and some politicians may view signing the agreement as a politically unpopular move. The country`s President, Muhammadu Buhari, has been criticized for not consulting with stakeholders before making decisions, and some feel that the lack of consultation on the free trade agreement is part of a broader pattern.

In conclusion, Nigeria`s decision not to sign the African Continental Free Trade Agreement is based on a number of factors, ranging from concerns about dumping and a lack of infrastructure to protectionist tendencies and political considerations. While the agreement has the potential to benefit the entire continent, Nigeria`s leaders must carefully consider its potential impact on the country before moving forward.