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AfCFTA boosts intra-African trade by 20% — UNECA

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The Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) said the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) increased intra-African trade by 20 per cent in 2022.

 

This is against the commission’s prediction of 52 per cent by 2022.

 

Speaking on the sidelines of the Ninth Session of the Africa Regional Forum on Sustainable Development in Niamey, Niger, Antonio Pedro, Acting Executive Secretary, UNECA, said the level of trade had increased.

Pedro was then asked if the commission had achieved the objective of 52 per cent intra-African trade.

“Certainly not yet. But the levels of intra-African trade have gone up from 13 per cent or so, before the African Continental Free Trade Area agreement was adopted, to now around 20 per cent but that is not good enough because other regions are trading amongst themselves.

“I mean, above 70 per cent or so Europe, Asia. So, that certainly is our target.”

The acting executive secretary said the rise in intra-African trade, however, was already encouraging certain countries to trade amongst themselves.

“Under the AfCFTA Trade Division, Kenya, a couple of other countries Ethiopia and so on and so forth.

“So now it’s really about scale, it is about making these movements that cover the entire continent.

“One is to look at the product complementarity between our countries, so we could have African countries trading inputs with another country where, perhaps, you have a much larger processing capacity and one example that I like to cite is between, for example, Gabon and Cameroon.

“Cameroon has processing facilities for palm oil products that require additional inputs coming from the sub region, and in this case, one could look at certain processed palm oil products coming from Gabon being processed in Cameroon to produce from soaps to oils to all sorts of other things.”

Pedro said these were some of the efforts which needed to happen.

He said the commission was making a trade decision supporting modelling, which was an exercise to identify the best export destinations for African countries.

However, he said the distance within African countries was much farther away than the distance between Africa and other continents.

“In the case of Cameroon that we have done one study; Nigeria certainly is the closest trade destination, however, what is very interesting is that a country that is not far from Cameroon which is the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is trade distance.

“Countries that are miles away, China and the U.S. are closer trade wise to Cameroon than DRC.

“Why is it that DRC is a trade distant is because there are issues with infrastructure. There are issues with essentially the connections and we need to address those binding constraints to Africa trading amongst themselves such as infrastructure.

“Some are hard infrastructure that we need to invest in improving links between our respective countries, others are soft infrastructure.”

The acting executive secretary also said protocols that had been approved and some that were in the pipeline needed to be mainstreamed and domesticated in national legislation.

“We still have situations where the customs departments are not aware. I mean, we are already trading within these AfCFTA trade regimes and they do not know what is the list of 90 per cent of products that can be traded without barriers or levies.

“We do not face problems in trading, and also communication about the AfCFTA needs to be improved within government departments.”

Pedro also said information needed to reach the operators on ground so when companies or individuals were exporting, they were not faced with all sorts of barriers.

“That is why the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area rests also in the accelerated implementation of the boosting intra African trade data Action Plan.

“Basically, data is about addressing the binding constraints to celebrating intra African trade which are again, a combination of hard and soft issues.”

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Breaking news: Minimum Wage: Labour rejects FG’s N54,000 offer

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The organised labour has rejected the Federal Government N54,000 new minimum wage proposal.

 

According to reliable source, the meeting on the ongoing negotiations on new minimum wage has been adjourned till Wednesday after the organised labour.

 

Media report has it that the Federal Government upped its offer from its earlier proposed N48,000 to N54,000.

Tuesday’s meeting came as a result of the walkout staged by members of the organised labour following the proposal of N48,000 as minimum wage by the Federal Government during last week’s meeting.

During that meeting, the OPS had also proposed N54,000 while labour insisted on its N615,000 living wage demand.

Our correspondent who spoke to sources who attended the follow-up meeting on Tuesday learnt that the Federal Government upped its offer from N48,000 to N54,000.

“Well, during the meeting, the government increased its offer from N48,000 to N54,000. However, labour rejected that offer and the meeting has been adjourned till Wednesday,” a source who asked not to be named said.

When asked if the government’s side was showing any sign of seriousness, the labour leader said, “No seriousness at all. Even state governors did not show up. Those who represented them, like Bauchi and Niger states, did not have the mandates to speak on their behalf.

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Junior Pope betrayed me repeatedly – Yul Edochie

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Nollywood actor Yul Edochie has claimed that his late colleague, Junior Pope, betrayed him repeatedly despite his being there for him in his times of need.

 

According to Edochie, it was the reason he shunned the late actor’s burial in Enugu State on Friday.

 

He said he wanted to wait till after Junior Pope’s burial before he reveal how the late actor betrayed him.

He promised the full story of how Junior Pope betrayed him soon.

On his Instagram story, Edochie wrote: “I didn’t want to say anything till after his burial. I know many asked why I wasn’t there. Why I haven’t said anything about it since.

“I took him like a brother & good friend. I was there for him when he needed me. But he stabbed me in the back repeatedly. That’s life!

“I’ll drop the full details soon so others can learn from it.

“Be careful what you wish people, it could come to you.”

Recall that Junior Pope died on April 10, 2024, alongside three others after their boat capsized on the Anam River in Anambra State while returning from a film location.

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