The National Action Committee on the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) for Transportation has stated that the transportation infrastructure deficit would not deter the country from participating in the trade agreement.
This statement was made by Ms Funmi Folorunsho, AfCFTA’s co-chairman on transportation during an interview monitored by NATIONAL ECONOMY in Lagos.
During the interview, Ms Folorunsho said that Nigeria was ready and working and that the issue of infrastructure deficit is not unique to Nigeria.
In her subsequent statement, she explained that the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTD) report for 2020 clearly stated that for the Africa free trade area to work, the deficit in infrastructure should be looked into. However, figures and details had been outlined in the report that the infrastructure deficit was not peculiar to Nigeria.
In this regard, she rightfully pointed out that a need assessment must be done with a view to filling in those gaps. As it is important to identify the gap between the need and what was in existence, to proffer a lasting solution to filling the infrastructural gap in the nation.
While commenting on the state of land transportation infrastructure, she said there was the need to expand into the bigger African market, and in this regard, the rail network that is being developed would play a major role in this area.
She also pointed out that aviation would be a big market, stating that Ethiopian Airline, for example, was still doing transportation service for medical and other services throughout the COVID-19 lockdown.
“There must be coordination among all the modes of transport by the government at public and private sector level. The three ministries must be talking with each other for the purpose of taking optimum benefit of the African Free Trade Area. I know there is not much private sector involvement and participation in the rail, but there is quite a beef in other modes of transportation, so everyone in the private sector must work together now that we have a bigger market to trade,”she stated.
While speaking about the importance of aviation companies in this regard, she said,
“I am looking at Medview, IbomAir, they need to sit together and start looking at the enabling environment for themselves outside of the country. There can also be a synergy of airlines, African airlines can have discussions; wherever Ghana or Kenya airline stops, either Air Peace or Ibom Airline can pick from there, as this is a hugely competitive market for everyone.”