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Monday, January 17, 2022

‘How Nigeria can emerge highest AfCFTA beneficiary’

Francis Akinnodi

An economic expert, Dr. Timothy Awe has expressed optimism, that Nigeria can be the biggest beneficiary of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) with improved ease of doing business and enterprise competitiveness.
The former Head of Department of Economics, Ado Ekiti University said this while appraising the just concluded Intra-African Trade Fair (IATF) 2021 held in Durban, South Africa.
He said the trade fair presented Nigerians, especially those who participated in the event the opportunity for partnerships, collaborations and knowledge transfer.
“The one quick win for participant is development of market access for our export customers. Nigeria were at the inaugural IATF in Cairo in 2018 and the connections were quite an eye opener.
“I strongly believe that if we can work on improving the general ease of doing business and enterprise competitiveness, Nigeria can be the biggest winner of the AfCFTA.
“On take-off, the AfCFTA would help to connect Nigerian businesses to the continental and global manufacturing value chain.”
According to him, IATF and AfCFTA were two economy drivers and that the country must take advantage of them for economic prosperity.
“From a business operations perspective, non-oil export trade requires a total mindset shift. It is a very competitive business landscape especially if you operate in the realms of value-added exports.
“Hence, human capital development especially around readiness of businesses for exports is a critical foundation block to positioning Nigerian exporters to become more competitive in the global marketplace.
“The global marketplace is a brutal ‘free-market’ arena akin to the Roman ‘Death-Fight’ Coliseums. It takes no prisoner and would punish you if you neither come prepared nor have competitive and comparative advantages.
“For instance, if you are exporting something from Nigeria to UK, you are competing with businesses from other countries who are exporting into that same market.
“So, if you don’t land your product at a cheaper pricing or higher quality than competition, you would be priced out of the market.
“The global marketplace doesn’t care about your sentiments or product origin/country macro and micro problems. The overriding consideration is value to the final consumer of your product,” he said.


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