Kenya, Rwanda, Cameroon, and South Africa are welcome to Nigeria’s exports.

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The main goal of the AfCFTA, which was founded in 2018 but started operating the next year, is to increase trade inside the African continent.

Nigeria will start selling some of its goods to some of the nearby markets with which it has historically had shaky business relations. The West African nation has formally approved the export of items made there to Kenya, Rwanda, South Africa, and Cameroon. Under an effort from the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), exports are expected to start by April.

According to a story published in the Nigerian publication The Punch, Nigeria would start exporting goods to a few African countries in April as part of the African Continental Free Trade Area’s Guided Trade Initiative. The National Center of the AfCFTA made the information public.

Prior to this endeavor, trade between these nations was active, but it was not formalized. The world’s largest free trade area in terms of participating countries is the African Continental Free Trade Area, which was established by 54 of the 55 member states of the African Union.

“We haven’t started trading in AfCFTA, we are duly going through the protocols. But recently the AfCFTA secretariat itself launched what they call the Guided Trade Initiative to get some countries to start trading outside their regional blocks,” the Executive Secretary, of the National Action Committee on AfCFTA, Olusegun Awolowo, stated.

During his speech on Thursday, outside the Abuja Stakeholders Workshop on the AfCFTA Digital Trade Protocol, he stated as much.

“We’ve signed onto it and I think that by the end of April, we are taking a few companies, big, medium, and small enterprises to actually launch trading in Africa. All we are doing now is that we are going through and signing all the protocols, as well as finding a way how to implement them. So we are now at the stage of implementation. Therefore, trading hasn’t really commenced under AfCFTA. It is not an overnight thing, you have to go through all the protocols, sign them, and agree,” he added.

“We are going to South Africa, Kenya, Cameroon and Rwanda. This is under the Guided Trade Initiative that was brought by AfCFTA, knowing that trade agreements take long.

In fact, this AfCFTA is the fastest one. How long did it take the World Trade Organisation to get on the ground? They are still signing protocols up till today. But this is the fastest one and to fast-track it, that is what the GTI is all about,” Awolowo said when asked to identify the countries that had already signed up for the GTI scheme and to whom Nigeria would legally begin exporting products.

“It is an initiative that enables countries to choose. Let’s take the companies and let them actually export from the various ports. Then we test the capacities of the ports, test the capacities of the shipments, and the capacities of cargoes. Then the private sector can fully buy into it. So that’s what is going to happen,” he added.

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