Nigeria decided not join an Africa free trade zone last week because it needs to carry out more consultations at home first, the government said on Tuesday.
The omissions were a blow to African Union plans to cut back red tape and other barriers that have strangled trade between African states – which amounts for just 15 percent of total commerce on the continent.
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyema stated that: “the decision of the President to not attend the African Continental Free Trade AREA (AfCFTA) signing ceremony was taken because we realized more inclusive (domestic) consultations needed to take place before Nigeria signs the agreement.”
It did not go into any details on the nature of the consultations.
South Africa did immediately comment on its reasons last week. Others staying on the sidelines were: Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, Zambia, Burundi, Eritrea, Benin, Sierra Leone and Guinea Bissau.