Nigeria’s optimisation of its agricultural resources is expected to drive competitive participation under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), as trade experts say in other to compete favourably, countries need to optimise products with comparative advantage, especially commodities and natural resources.

The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) projects that the trade agreement for a market of 1.2 billion people would boost intra-African trade by between $50 Billion and $70Billion in monetary terms, with a 40 percent to 50 percent increase over the first 20 years of implementation.

According to Wamkele Mene, Secretary-General, AfCFTA, recently in a high level roundtable on industrialisation in Africa, Nigeria offers a unique opportunity and market under the trade agreement with its population, natural resources, and labour force, but enjoying its benefits will require urgent action for faster economic diversification activities.

Despite the implementation of AfCFTA, Nigeria’s export in the first half of 2021 to African countries was 11.50 percent, this is a drop when compared with the 21.8 percent it achieved in 2020. During this period, Europe had 35.30 percent according to the foreign trade report by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

The International Trade Centre (INTRACEN) ranked Nigeria 0.1 percent in increase in new products to traditional markets and 0.0 percent in increase in traditional products to new markets. The data also highlight major products that have huge unrealised potential as high as 100 percent in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), which is made up of 48 countries. To boost these statistics, below are five of the products, which BusinessDay analysis shows Nigerian exporters can leverage under AfCFTA:

  • Cotton
  • Ginger
  • Cashew nuts in shell (fresh or dried)
  • Sesamum (sesame) seeds
  • Dry hides

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