Executive Secretary, National Action Committee on African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), Mr Francis Anatogu has urged Nigeria to make itself Africa’s premier choice in a number of products and services, if it is considering growing its exports.
Anatogu gave the advice at an SME talk with the topic, “African Continental Free Trade Area: Unlocking the Benefits to SMEs “, organised virtually, by Wema Bank Plc, on Friday.
According to him, there are huge opportunities in the African market that the country can take advantage of.
He said if the country could take just 10 per cent of the market, it would double its current oil export to the world.
” So, for us in Nigeria, when we think of AfCFTA, it’s about growing our export to Africa in general, but we also know from the studies that we have done that for us to be able to do that, we must become premier choice in a number of products.
“We must be known for certain products and services,” he said.
The committee scribe believed that it was the time for Nigeria to use the opportunity provided by AfCFTA to create all kinds of jobs.
He said that the time now was about preparing for a post-oil economy.
Anatogu said that the country had the biggest domestic market in Africa and a “very resourceful ” population which gave it an edge.
“In fact, the question to ask is which is our biggest edge? Is it the oil or our people? We have got very knowledgeable, talented population that we can rely on. We have the can-do spirit!,” he said.
Analogue said that the AFCFTA offered a platform for the country to go and demand access for its businesses.
On his part, Mr Taiwo Oyedele, the Fiscal Policy Partner and West Africa Tax Leader, urged SMEs to take advantage of the possibilities of the AfCFTA treaty, as it would affect everyone.
“Don’t think until you start manufacturing cars before you can play within the AfCFTA!
“The thing SMEs should do now is to have a positive mindset; our market is big, everybody is looking to take over our market.
“So, once we open up the gate, they will flood our market and we will all go to hell.
“Another mindset says Nigeria is the biggest market – 200 milion, but Africa is bigger, there is an extra one billion people that you had no access to before now; now you have access to them. That is a positive mindset,” he said.