Nigeria Manufacturing Body Opposes African Free Trade Area

Nigeria’s main manufacturing body said it will oppose plans for an African free trade area until the government has done more studies on its impact.

“When they open our borders for all manner of products to come into this country, most of our industries will be out of business,” Frank Jacobs, president of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, told reporters in Lagos, the commercial capital, on Tuesday. “We will continue to oppose it until the right thing is done.”

More than 40 nations signed the African Continental Free Trade Area agreement, or AfCFTA, in March, committing to removing tariffs on 90 percent of goods. The aim is to boost commerce within a continent that currently has low levels of intra-regional trade and supplant a patchwork of existing agreements.

While Kenya and Ghana have ratified the deal, Africa’s two biggest economies — Nigeria and South Africa — have not. Some critics accused Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari of bowing to pressure from labor unions concerned that more free trade would hurt local industries and cause job losses.

— With assistance by Paul Wallace

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