In this edition, we take a retrospective look at how Nigeria’s largest community of business lawyers – the NBA Section on Business Law (SBL), engaged and worked with the federal government in the last one year, to bring to fruition the signing of this strategic trade agreement.
Business lawyers join stakeholder consultations across Nigeria
The federal government inaugurated a nationwide stakeholder sensitisation team to engage them on the implications of signing the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement. The objective was to help government understand the true impact of the agreement on Nigeria and Nigerians based the existing domestic and regional policies as it relates to trade.
In carrying out this exercise, approximately no fewer than 34 groups and associations were sensitised and consulted, while approximately 3,017 natural persons were engaged in the various sessions and meetings.
JUNE 27-29, 2018
SBL provides platform for AfCFTA engagement at 12th annual business law conference
…Bar associations to maximize opportunities from free trade
The Section on Business law (SBL) at its 12th annual business law conference in June 2018 provided a platform for further stakeholder consultations on the endorsement of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
NBA-SBL Chairman, others inaugurated into AfCFTA committee for impact and readiness assessment
OCTOBER 24, 2018
Validation of the Nigerian Draft Market Access Offer for Trade in Services
On October 24, 2018, the Chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association Section on Business Law (NBA-SBL), Seni Adio, SAN, as co-chairperson of the Nigerian Coalition of Services Industry (NCSI) was invited by the Nigerian Office for Trade Negotiations (NOTN) to validate the Nigerian Draft Market Access Offer for Trade in Services (Schedule of Specific Commitment) – This is expected to have great impact on the AfCFTA.
In the photo below, Ambassador Chiedu Osakwe, Director General, NOTN, alongside an officer of the trade office, witness the signing by the Chairman of the NBA-SBL.
The Africa Trade Forum was hosted in Lagos by Nigeria’s Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, and co-hosted by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), The Rockefeller Foundation, and the African Union Commission (AUC) and the Nigerian Bar Association Section on Business Law. The Forum brought together stakeholders from across the continent, from political and governance spheres, the private sector and entrepreneurs, philanthropies, academia, researchers, and development partners, to discuss the process for realizing the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
AfCFTA across the continent
The Agreement Establishing the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) was signed in Kigali, Rwanda, at the 10th Extraordinary Summit of the African Union (AU), on 21st March 2018, while 49 Signatories and 7 Ratifications, have been witnessed so far. Since then, African Union (AU), in partnership with the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UN-ECA), had engaged in serious drive to sensitize stakeholders on AfCFTA. Thirteen (13) of the fifteen (15) Member-states of the ECOWAS are Signatories to the AfCFTA.
Growth opportunities for AfCFTA
Market opportunities for growth for Nigerian exporters of goods and services; scope for industrialization through economies of scale in a single market; the mechanism for resolving trade disputes; cooperative mechanisms for regulating and promoting intra-African trade; and, the AfCFTA as a platform for Nigeria’s continued leadership in Africa as Africa remains the centerpiece of Nigeria’s foreign policy.
The Chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association Section on Business law (NBA-SBL), Seni Adio, SAN, at the last Africa Trade Forum in Lagos organised by Nigeria’s Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, in collaboration with the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA); the Rockefeller Foundation; and the African Union Commission (AUC), urged business lawyers and legal practitioners generally to stay at the forefront of ongoing reforms, as the signing of the AFCFTA is expected to open a new vista of opportunities not just for practitioners in the area of trade law but for all lawyers.