Chika P. Imoagwu, Joan N. Ozoh, Chinwe M. Madueke, Chidinma C. Mbah


The signing of the agreement that established the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) in the year 2019 is believed to be an African-based growth strategy that is self-reliant and is expected to be the world’s largest free trade area after the World Trade Organization (WTO). The agreement is an attestation to the fact that African countries cannot continue to rely solely on the global trading system and global economy of the world economic powers, probably because they are increasingly becoming unpredictable. However, there is an assumption that the aggregate consumer and business spending on the continent could rise if AfCFTA is implemented successfully. This assumption therefore calls for a research like this to evaluate the likely economic impacts of the free trade agreement on different African countries particularly Nigeria which is the giant of Africa and the focus of this study. To achieve the objectives of the study, descriptive statistical approach was utilized to examine how the AfCFTA could contribute particularly on poverty reduction and Nigeria has been struggling for many decades to reduce poverty. These variables were considered: household income, illiteracy level, unemployment level and access to health care. The results of the analyses revealed that the AfCFTA could be slightly beneficial to Nigeria as it would improve the efficiency of the factors of production and product markets thereby enhancing household income generation, reducing the level of illiteracy, unemployment and increasing access to good health, efficient resource allocation and improved industry competitiveness which was expected to help Nigeria record significant reduction in poverty level and increase in economic development. In the light of these findings, the study recommends that government should then design proactive strategies that would reap the full benefits of AfCFTA such as engaging the private sector in identifying receptive and risk surrounding their sectors and paying more attention to the development of the service sector etc. The study has potential limitations such as unavailability of recent data. To tackle this limitation, the study adopted the 2019 survey data on pillars of measuring human development index by World Bank to address the quality of the findings, and research question.

JEL: F10, H13, O10

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free trade, policy, agreement, poverty, socio-economic development, scenario analysis

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