With the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) in place, many African countries (and France) would be eyeing the large Nigerian market. Nigeria, with Africa’s largest population (170 million), is certainly a mouth watering prospect for other African countries.
But this is also an opportunity for Nigeria to export to other African markets.
Innosson, Coscharis, Aba apparel makers, Alabukun, Dudu Osun, Dangote, MACBAN, e.t.c., have a chance to easily expand past their home market.
The Nigerian governments should become chief marketing officers for Nigeria’s companies. Look at President Trump. He is forever marketing US products on foreign trips and to visiting world leaders.
AGOA, the defunct African Growth and Opportunities Act, was a monumental failure for Nigeria, because apart from oil, we did not key in to the other opportunities to export to the US.
We had a golden opportunity to export manufactured goods to the US duty free and we foolishly wasted it.
During Obasanjo’s time, he also signed a free trade agreement with Benin Republic. But up till now, that agreement is gathering dust in some forgotten shelf instead of producing economic value for the country.
If we can harness the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), it will go far in diversifying our economy, providing jobs and foreign exchange.
I need not tell you that if we had taken advantage of AGOA and the free trade agreement with Benin Republic, the recent recession would not have happened.
Our manufacturers and regulators also have to up their game to ensure that Nigeria is not disgraced by the export of fake and substandard products.