Nigeria’s president, Muhammadu Buhari has said that with the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), the continent can double intra-African trade by 2030, reduce the reliance on imports and also create more jobs within the continent.

The President disclosed this in his address at the opening ceremony of the 2nd Intra-African Trade Fair 2021 event in Durban, South Africa, on Monday.

The Nigerian leader told investors at the event that the country arrived Durban in full force to actively participate in the trade fair and take full advantage of all the opportunities it will provide.

“We have streamlined the country’s participation under one roof to enable you to access all the information you need,” Buhari said.

‘‘Under the African Continental Free Trade Area, we can double our intra-African trade by 2030, reduce our reliance on imports and therefore create more jobs within the continent.”

Buhari warned that Africa cannot achieve intra-African trade by talking alone, adding that the implementation will be a difficult journey. He however, stressed that all challenges are surmountable if both the public and private sectors collaborate.

On the public sector side, he urged that governments must support local entrepreneurs to build scale and therefore improve productivity.

‘‘This means providing incentives to encourage our businesses to formalize and comply with laid down regulations.

‘‘Free trade must also be fair and fairness can only be achieved when there is full compliance with regulations, especially those relating to rules of origin. The AfCFTA is for ‘made-in-Africa’ products and services,” he said.

He added that Africa must be a marketplace where no country is left behind. “As we implement, we must ensure that we create jobs and enhance revenues for all parties and must leverage on one another’s strengths to succeed,” he said.

Buhari revealed that over the past 5 years, Nigeria has made significant strides towards the diversification of her economy from an oil revenue-dependent country to a nation with diverse revenue sources.

“We were able to achieve this by putting in place fiscal, monetary and trade policies that support investments and investors in key sectors such as agriculture, mining, telecommunications and digital economy, banking and financial services, tourism, and manufacturing,” he said