A partner at Templars corporate and commercial practice group, Ijeoma Uju has decried the poor state of infrastructure in Nigeria, saying such was a big barrier for the country’s hope of playing big under the Africa Free Trade Area Agreement (AfCFTA).
According to her, AfCFTA is an ambitious treaty that requires ambitious commitment to make the realization of its benefits a reality.Uju who made this comment at the Africa Trade Roadshow organized by law firms, Baker Mckenzie and Templars, said if we ratify and domesticate the treaty without preparation and readiness, unemployment would get deeper.
“We have to be ready with our transport sector, manufacturing and electricity. Our industries must be positioned to compete favourably,” she said.Also, the director, Africa Corporate Network of the Economist, Herman Warren gave hints on the importance of forming alliances towards achieving global economic goals, while speaking on the global geographical concerns such as trade wars, impact of coronavirus on the Chinese economy and trade, Brexit, China’s BRI, and others.
His words: “The U.S-China trade war is not a trade battle but one for dominance but in the other hand, President Vladimir Putin continues to work hard to establish Russia’s dominance on the global stage.”
Other panelists such as Virusha Subban, partner and head of indirect tax Baker Mckenzie, Johannesburg, Kerry Contini, partner, international trade practice group Baker Mckenzie, Washington DC, Professor Jonathan Aremu, professor of international economic relations, Covenant University and Jesuseun Fatoyinbo, head of trade, Stanbic IBTC Plc gave their own perspectives on the AfCFTA in relation to Nigeria and also touched on global and local legal regulations.
Jesuseun Fatoyinbo hinted that AfCFTA is a great opportunity for Africans to realise their potentials, while attracting good investment, adding that completion and documentary tools will drive the significant trade.
He said: “The significant trade that will happen will be purely driven by government trade, for obvious reasons. We are going into a new market and there is a risk to that. We will need to understand the political climate, business environment and custom behavior, so if you want to go into risk mitigation, they will protect you and the process. Certain banks that have spread across the continent have insight into different market across the continent. They are able to give advice and guidelines on the sectors you can invest in, the custom practices and the political planning.”
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