Nigeria decided not to join an Africa free trade zone last week because it needs more consultations at home first, government said.
Other leaders agreed to form a zone encompassing 1.2 billion people, but 11 countries including the continent’s biggest economy, Nigeria, and its most-developed, South Africa, did not sign up.
The omissions were a blow to African Union plans to cut back red tape and other barriers strangling trade between African states – which amounts for only 15% of total commerce on the continent.
“Minister of Foreign Affairs: The decision for President @MBuhari to not attend the #AfCFTA signing ceremony was taken because we realised more inclusive (domestic) consultations needed to take place before Nigeria signs,” read a message on the presidency’s Twitter feed.
It did not go into detail on the consultations.
South Africa did immediately comment on its reasons last week. Others staying on the sidelines were: Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, Zambia, Burundi, Eritrea, Benin, Sierra Leone and Guinea Bissau.