Adesina confident Nigeria will sign free trade deal

President, African Development Bank, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina

The President of the Africa Development Bank (AfDB), Dr Akinwumi Adesina, has expressed confidence that Nigeria and every other country on the continent will sign the Africa Free Trade agreement.

Adesina who made this known while speaking in South Africa on Friday on the successes of the Africa Investment Forum said different countries have their processes, but everyone will come around.

“I think Nigeria is doing the right thing, actually consulting with its private sector, and having the dialogue that they need to have, and every country should have that kind of a dialogue,” Adesina told CNBC Africa.

He said, “I am 100 percent convinced that every single African country is going to sign it. Countries have different processes of getting consensus and stuff like that; that’s alright, but what matters for me is the end.

“Why do I think that is important? First and foremost is that if you take the continental free trade area of Africa, it is going to be the largest free trade zone in the world after since the WTO was created in the 1948 or something like that.

“You cannot ignore it; this free trade zone is going to increase the trade in Africa by about $30 billion per year.

“It is going to increase intra-Africa trade from roughly about 14, 15 percent today to 53 percent, it is going to create massive amount of jobs for us, who doesn’t want to grow?”

Forty-nine countries on the continent have signed unto the continental free trade agreement, including South Africa, and excluding Nigeria.

The AfDB president said the Africa investment forum record $38.7 billion in deals, making 77 percent of all the foreign direct investment that Africa has gotten in 2018.

“$38.7 billion is roughly 77 percent of all the foreign direct investments that Africa got this yearf, it is almost 94 percent of all the FDI that Africa got last year — we did that in three days.

“That tells me that Africa is ripe for investments, the critical issue is getting bankable projects,” Adesina said.