The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), according to the federal government, is predicted to boost the income level of roughly 68 million Nigerians, resulting in poverty reduction and economic growth.
Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, the vice president, said the free trade deal gives a big opportunity for African countries, particularly Nigeria, at the 47th African Insurance Organisation (AIO) Conference in Lagos, Nigeria.
He said, “by some estimates if we get it right, we can bring several million out of extreme poverty and raise the incomes of 68 million others who live on less than $5.50 per day. There are potential income gains of up to $450 billion, and just cutting red tape and simplifying customs procedures alone could drive up to $250billion of that sum”.
More trade in goods will mean more need for insurance services; brokers, in particular, should expect a boom; demand for trade facilitation services will rise; and companies that already have market presence in other African countries, even if through collaboration, will benefit more than others, he said.
While he expects more well-capitalised insurance firms from other African countries to enter the Nigerian market, he also points out that “services can be built up faster than manufacturing operations”.
“Nigerian financial services companies, especially banks, are already in many African Countries, the likes of Zenith, Access, UBA. How about Insurance companies? We should now be looking at developing home-grown international African insurance conglomerates. The time is now”.
The title of the lecture is, “From Small Business to Big Business: A Future with Little Hope”. According to the vice president, the MSMEs Survival Fund was one of the things the federal government did for small businesses during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.