Synopsis: The Continental Free Trade Area negotiations should take the concerns of domestic stakeholders seriously, for its own sustainable development.
According to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), the Nigerian manufacturing sector is dominated by the production of food, beverages and tobacco, with sugar and bread products generating the greatest value of output. To encourage more output in these and other sectors, the government has been making it cheaper for consumers to purchase locally manufactured goods by making the smuggled foreign alternatives prohibitively expensive or totally unavailable through prohibitions.
In its World Economic Outlook released in early October 2017, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) seems to be more optimistic about the global economy, but there are still many risks that can stall the recovery. It estimates that global growth in 2017 will be 3.6%, and forecasts a 3.7% rate for 2018 and 2019. The emerging market and developing economies will be the main growth engine, with an estimated growth of 4.6% in 2017, accelerating to 4.9% and 5% in 2018 and 2019 respectively.
Nigeria is still, by a slim margin, the biggest economy in Africa, despite the economic woes of the past two years. A population of anything between 180 million to 200 million people makes its consumer market in particular of great interest to investors, manufacturers and exporters around the world. The country manufactures relatively few of the products it consumes and despite efforts to increase local industry, it remains largely import dependent.
Electricity generation and distribution in Nigeria remains erratic. Only 50% of the population have access to electricity, and more than 90 million Nigerians – about the population of Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand combined – are without access to electricity. Access in rural areas is even worse with only 10% of the population having access.