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Ramaphosa calls for intra-Africa trade boost

Cyril Ramaphosa was speaking at a conference by the African Export-Import Bank in Nigeria. He's called on Nigeria not to take too long to sign the continental free trade area treaty.

President Cyril Ramaphosa in Nigerian. Picture: GCIS.

ABUJA - President Cyril Ramaphosa has stressed the urgency of intra-Africa trade and has nudged Nigeria not to hesitate in joining 44 other African countries who have signed an accord to allow for free trade across the continent.

Speaking on the importance and need for intra-Africa trade in Abuja on Wednesday, Ramaphosa said South Africa will soon ratify the “African Continental Free Trade Area agreement”.

He says the African Continental Free Trade Area treaty signed earlier in 2018 will assist in continental integration and help bring stability to the continent.

Ramaphosa says this agreement will be an opportunity to improve infrastructure and trading routes.

When 44 African countries signed an agreement to allow for the free flow of goods across the African continent in Rwanda, the main question remained: Would Africa’s two biggest economies, South Africa and Nigeria, join?

The president says South Africa is firmly behind efforts to allow for intra-Africa trade and will ratify its decision to sign the accord soon.

But as discussions continue about the need for the free flow of goods within the continent, Ramaphosa says Nigeria also needs to step up.

“The eyes of Africa are truly directed at two countries on the continent - Nigeria and South Africa.”

Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari previously stated that his country needed more time to consult on the matter.

Ramaphosa noted that free trade in Africa will assist efforts to end conflict raging across the continent.

The president called on Nigeria not to take too long to sign the treaty.

“No pressure… take your time but don’t tarry too long because the continent is waiting for Nigeria and South Africa.”

WATCH: President Ramaphosa in Nigeria for bilateral talks

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