Africa’s largest economy is one of the countries yet to sign the African Continental Free Trade Agreement.
The policy, which came into effect at midnight on Wednesday, aims to create a tariff-free continent that would grow local businesses, boost intra-African trade, spur industrialisation and create more jobs.
Last July, during a joint press conference with South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, Nigeria’s leader Muhammadu Buhari had suggested he’d soon sign the agreement, but wanted to be sure of its implications for his country’s economy.
The Nigerian president explained that he wanted to protect the country’s industries from unfavourable competition, and ensure local jobs went to Nigerians.
The African Continental Free Trade Agreement would remove barriers to trade, allowing the free flow of goods and services between its members.
It was signed by 44 African countries in March 2018, but so far, only 24 of them have ratified it.