Nigeria is leading on pan-African free trade, bank chief says

Stefan Heunis | AFP | Getty Images

The Egina floating production storage and offloading vessel, the largest of its kind in Nigeria, is berthed in Lagos harbor on February 23, 2017.

“When you are the largest economy on the continent, and it’s a tiny, small country like Rwanda who is leading the conversation on the CFTA, there’s a very simple question that you ask yourself: ‘Where is your leadership?'” Kie said.

By initially turning down the deal, Nigeria has the “leverage” to “get some of the conditions that they think are critical for the economy to now be put on the table,” Kie explained. “They (won’t) just absorb the impact of the decision that was taken, but they’re also part of the solutions that are going to come.”

“I’m just making a pure and basic analysis of the powers in presence, and I’m looking at what it entails,” he said. “All of this is political, it’s the heads of state that sign these agreements.”

Kie was confident that Nigeria would eventually subscribe to the deal.

“I don’t have any doubt that Nigeria will join” the free trade agreement in its own time, he said. “Nobody will doubt the interests of this for the continent.”

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