President Muhammadu Buhari will depart Abuja on Saturday for Niamey, Niger Republic to attend the African Union (AU) Summit, scheduled to hold on July 7.
A statement issued by the President’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, in Abuja on Friday, said Mr Buhari would participate in the 12th Extraordinary Session of the Assembly of the Union on African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
The presidential aide added that the president would also participate in the First Mid-Year Coordination Meeting of the AU and the Regional Economic Communities (RECs) in Niamey.
“The Extraordinary Session of the Assembly of the Union is expected to launch the operational instruments of the Agreement establishing AfCFTA.
“The instruments include: AfCFTA Rules of Origin, Tariff Concession Portals, Portal on Monitoring and Elimination of Non-Tariff Barriers, Digital Payments and Clearing Systems and African Trade and Observatory Dashboard,’’ Adesina further disclosed.
Prior to the Summit, the Buhari administration had embarked on extensive consultations with stakeholders, culminating in the submission of the report by the Presidential Committee to Assess Impact and Readiness of Nigeria to join the AfCFTA.
The committee had recommended that Nigeria should sign the Agreement which aims to boost intra-African trade.
Mr Adesina revealed that President Buhari would sign the AfCFTA Agreement on the margins of the AU meeting in Niamey.
While formally accepting the report on June 27, Mr Buhari said:
“For AfCFTA to succeed, we must develop policies that promote African production, among other benefits.
“Africa, therefore, needs not only a trade policy but also a continental manufacturing agenda.
“Our vision for intra-African trade is for the free movement of ‘made in Africa goods.’ That is, goods and services made locally with dominant African content in terms of raw materials and value addition.”
According to Mr Adesina, the president will be accompanied to Niamey by the First Lady, Aisha Buhari, Governors Babagana Zulum, Abubakar Atiku Bagudu and Aminu Bello Masari of Borno, Kebbi and Katsina States, respectively.
Other top government officials on the trip include: Permanent Secretary Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mustapha Suleiman; Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, Sunday Akpan and Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Defence, Nuratu Batagarawa.
Others are Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Finance, Mahmoud Isa-Dutse; Director-General, National Intelligence Agency, Ahmed Rufai Abubakar; and Director-General, National Office for Trade Negotiations, Chinedu Osakwe.
Mr Adesina said the president would return to Abuja at the conclusion of the Summit.