Intra-African Trade: The Federal Government pushes African nations to withstand trade barrier pressures

In light of the ongoing implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCTA), the federal government has urged African nations to resist the push to install trade barriers across their borders.

Yesterday at the African Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Networks Investment Summit in Abuja, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr. Boss Mustapha, stated that, if implemented with the necessary commitment, continental free trade would be of immense benefit to the entire region.

The SGF also pushed regional authorities to build business-friendly conditions to attract much-needed private investment for infrastructure development.

To stimulate and create a thriving private sector on the continent and speed infrastructure development, a number of challenges must be overcome, according to his statements.
There is unquestionably a need to foster an investment-friendly environment. This can be accomplished by decreasing corporate risks and expenses, securing private property rights, enhancing governance, combating corruption, streamlining regulations, and fostering competitiveness.
In order for intra-African trade to grow, African nations must also withstand pressure to create trade obstacles. Currently, intra-African trade accounts for approximately 10% of total exports.
This is the lowest in comparison to other locations throughout the globe. However, we are confident that the African Continental Free Trade Agreement will dramatically improve the situation.
Mr. Mustapha continued, “There is also a need for financial sector growth by building regulatory and institutional frameworks to boost governance and competition, enhancing access to finance and financial literacy, establishing payment systems, and enhancing creditor rights.” Similarly important is the private sector’s access to financing.”
According to him, public-private partnerships (PPP) have become a very viable procurement option, as well as a reliable and trustworthy vehicle for speeding infrastructure development and structural transformation in numerous economies throughout the world.
He stated, “The benefits of PPPs over conventional procurement procedures are extremely substantial and well-documented.” However, it suffices to note that PPPs are well-known for attracting new investment and financing for infrastructure.

Public-private partnerships also aid in improving project selection by putting assumptions to the test of garnering private financing.

Indeed, countries with relatively extensive histories of PPPs have found PPPs to be superior to traditional procurement in terms of construction management, asset maintenance, and project completion on time and within budget.”
“There is no doubt, given the constraints on the public budget for financing the ever-growing infrastructure needs and in keeping with the practice in other nations with similar situations, the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) has encouraged and supported the strengthening of the framework for public-private partnership (PPP) policy.”
The SGF remarked that the continent’s enormous infrastructure gap created equally enormous investment opportunities for the private sector.
“Africa faces huge infrastructure gaps, but this also presents huge opportunities for private investment through public-private partnerships, especially in energy, housing, transportation, agriculture, technology, waste management, and social services and amenities,” he said.
Mr. Michael Ohiani, Ag. Director-General of the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC), disclosed in his address that as of 2021, the organization had prepared 51 PPP projects totaling $17 billion but had no bidders.

His statements were, “In 2021, we will publish a pipeline of 51 qualified and bankable PPP projects with a total value of over 17 billion.”

This list comprises projects from various economic sectors for which Outline Business Case Compliance Certificates have been issued but no bidders have been discovered.
He stated that the ICRC aimed to publish a pipeline of 53 qualified and bankable PPP projects totaling around USD 22 billion this year.
As part of his organization’s accomplishments, the Ag. D-G disclosed that the federal government approved PPP projects worth more than $9 billion under the regulatory guidance of the ICRC between 2010 and last year.
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