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Nigeria moves to become gateway to AfCFTA, signs MoU with Vietnam

The Nigerian government, in a bid to boost trade with South East Asia and maximize the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement, has announced plans to make $336 billion exporter Vietnam use Nigeria as a gateway into the African market.

This was disclosed by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo in a statement on Monday night following his ongoing state visit to one of Asia’s largest exporters.

The Nigerian government also stated it will support Vietnam’s quest to establish relations with ECOWAS and is prepared to sign, specifically trade and industry agreements.

Vice President Osinbajo stated that there are vast opportunities for cooperation and collaboration between Nigeria and Vietnam, especially in the digital economy space.

  • He said, “We have a growing telecoms market, possibly one of the deepest penetrations of telecoms in the developing world. A large percentage of our citizens use telecom equipment or devices. Our broadband connectivity has also vastly improved.

He stressed that Nigeria is the largest economy in Africa and this puts the country at the centre of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement, which opens up trade in what will become the world’s largest free trade zone.

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  • “We think Nigeria as the gateway to the rest of Africa is strategic, and we hope that with some of the collaborations that we will be able to sign, specifically trade and industry agreements, we believe Vietnam will see the opportunity in using Nigeria as a staging post into AFTZ.
  • “Nigeria will certainly support Vietnam’s quest to establish relations with the Economic Community of ECOWAS” he noted.

The vice presidents of both countries witnessed the signing of a defense cooperation agreement on Monday evening as Ambassador Hassan Adamu Mammani signed for Nigeria, and for Vietnam, Deputy Minister of Defence Snr. Lt. Gen. Hoang Xuan Chien.

For the record: The vice president arrived in Hanoi, the capital of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam on Sunday, where he planned to meet top Vietnamese government officials, including the president, vice president, and prime minister. His itinerary also includes the Nigerian and Vietnamese business communities to deepen the bilateral relations between both nations.

Vietnam reported a 19% growth in exports last year, as it saw its trade surplus with the United States grow to an all-time high. Vietnam’s total exports came in at $336.31 billion, while its imports rose 26.5% to $332.23 billion, resulting in a trade surplus of $4.08 billion.

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