Buhari calls for a new case for a Commonwealth based on trade

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In an opinion piece he sent to TODAY NEWS AFRICA in Washington DC on Sunday, Nigerian leader Muhammadu Buhari called for “a new case for a Commonwealth based on trade”.

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President Buhari visits Prince of Wales Prince Charles in Scotland at the sidelines of Uk-Africa Summit on 19th Jan 2020

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Mr. Buhari’s piece seemed to acknowledged as inevitable the British exit from the European Union and proposed a new case for trade.

“The United Kingdom’s exit of the European Union is now all but certain. Only the passage of time will reveal what their new relationship shall be. But with this new arrangement, I – like many other Commonwealth leaders – also seek a new settlement: not only of closer relations between the UK and my own nation, but of unleashing trade within the club in which we together shall remain,” he said.

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Mr. Buhari said relations between Nigeria and the UK remain close and longstanding, and most “reiterated in our 2018 bi-lateral security pact and our collaboration in anti-trafficking”.

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“But in recent years, our relationship – particularly economically – has become increasingly defined by Britain’s membership of the European Union,” he added.

As a result, the Nigerian leader said “a new free trade agreement would reconfigure this, presenting new opportunities for both. As the largest economy in Africa, my country of nearly 200 million people has a great deal to offer: Nigeria’s vast natural energy and mineral resources, unbarred through the ending of customs barriers, could help supply growth for companies in all corners of the UK. Greater access would also be forthcoming to one of the world’s fastest expanding groups of consumers – the Nigerian middle classes”.

“For my country, greater UK engagement in its economy would bring jobs to under-tapped sectors, such as agriculture and manufacturing. Millions of highly skilled, English-speaking but underemployed young people, are eager to work but without the opportunities that foreign investment can bring to create jobs and build businesses.

“Yet there is also a case to be made that our two Commonwealth countries should try, with other members, to deliver more – collectively. In 2015, I became the first head of a new Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council tasked with boosting trade and investment within the wider organisation. Now with the United Kingdom – the Commonwealth’s largest economy – no longer obliged to ringfence its economy with tariffs, this mission will be given a jolt of vitality”.

You can read the full piece here as sent to TODAY NEWS AFRICA in Washington DC

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Simon Ateba
Simon Ateba covers the White House, the U.S. government, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other financial and international institutions for Today News Africa in Washington D.C. Simon can be reached on simonateba@todaynewsafrica.com

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