Macroeconomic Report & Economic Updates

Nigeria Economic Update (Issue 19)

In August 2019, the Nigerian government closed all land borders to check the smuggling of products, especially rice and petroleum products, and other illicit cross-border activities. In December 2020, sixteen months after the closure, the government began the phased reopening of land borders and started with four borders – Illela, Maigatari, Mfun, and Seme. Sequel to the phased approach, on April 23rd, 2022, four additional borders – Idiroko, Jibiya, Kamba, and Ikon were opened.1 The closure of the borders contradicts the principle guiding the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), to which Nigeria is a signatory. The agreement seeks to ensure people’s free movement and transfer of goods, technology, and knowledge within the continent, fostering intra-Africa trade. Therefore, the reopening of the borders indicates Nigeria’s readiness and commitment to the regional free trade agreement. Nigeria has a lot to benefit from AfCFTA, but the benefit depends on several factors, including infrastructure, security, cost of doing business, and skills. Deliberate government efforts at improving security and infrastructure, especially electricity, roads linking Nigeria to other African countries, and the port conditions would increase the country’s gains from the agreement. Also, there is a need for the government to address the porous state of our borders, thereby ensuring that they are not routes for the smuggling of arms, harmful substances, petroleum products, and agricultural products.

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