By Ismaila Chafe
Abuja, Nov. 23, 2022
President Muhammadu Buhari will embark on an official trip to Niamey, the Republic of Niger to attend the African Union Summit on Industrialization and Economic Diversification.
Malam Garba Shehu, the President’s spokesman, who confirmed this in a statement on Wednesday in Abuja, said while in Niamey, the Nigerian leader would also participate in the Extraordinary Session on African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
He said: ”The President, who will depart Abuja on Thursday, will also attend the launching of French version of the Book entitled: ‘Muhammadu Buhari: The Challenges of Leadership in Nigeria’.
The presidential aide disclosed that Buhari would inaugurate the ‘Muhammadu Buhari Boulevard’, named after him by the Government of the Republic of Niger.
According to Shehu, the naming of the Boulevard and launch of the French version of the book, written by John Paden, a Professor of International Studies at George Mason University, northern Virginia, United States, precedes the AU Summit on Friday.
He revealed that the president would also deliver his National Statement at the African Union Summit on Industrialization and Economic Diversification.
The theme of the meeting is: ‘Industrialising Africa: Renewed commitment towards an Inclusive and Sustainable Industrialization and Economic Diversification.’
”The High-Level Summit, being convened as part of the Africa Industrialization Week annual commemorative activities, is expected to adopt a Declaration, highlighting the importance of industrialization and economic transformation in the continent and how to make progress in that regard,” Shehu said.
Every Nov. 20 is commemorated as the Africa Industrialization Day, adopted by the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the then Organization of African Unity in July 1989, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
According to Shehu, the Extraordinary Session on AFCFTA is expected to adopt the Phase II Protocols of the continental free trade area as well launch additional operation tools.
Nigeria has continued to demonstrate a high level of commitment toward the full operationalization of a pan-African free trade area.
It will create a single market for goods and services and liberalise and facilitate the movement of investment and businesspeople across the continent.
On July 7, 2019, Nigeria signed the AfCFTA agreement in Niamey during the 12th Extraordinary session of the Assembly and launch of the operational phase of the trade deal.
The country ratified its membership of the AfCFTA on Nov. 11, 2020.
The presidential aide stated that Buhari would be accompanied by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama; Minister of Defence, retired Maj.-Gen. Bashir Magashi and Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Adeniyi Adebayo.
Others on the president’s entourage include the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed; the National Security Adviser, retired Maj.-Gen. Babagana Monguno and the Director-General, National Intelligence Agency, Amb. Ahmed Rufai.
The president will return to the country on Friday.