Ugandan president Museveni and his Nigeria counterpart, Muhammadu Buhari, have cancelled their planned trips to Kigali in Rwanda to attend the African Union’s extraordinary summit on Continental Free Trade Area.
President Paul Kagame, the new AU chairperson organised the March 21, 2018 summit with the aim of having African leaders sign a Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) agreement.
The agreement will reduce trade restrictions and increase trade amongst the 54 nations at the same event.
Senior Presidential Press Secretary, Don Wanyama, said Museveni will not be able to attend and has delegated the Minister of Foreign Affairs Sam Kutesa to represent him.
“Uganda remains committed to the Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) and will ensure its implantation,” Wanyama said.
Buhari too won’t attend
Nigerian President Buhari will also not attend the summit, an official statement said Sunday, in a blow to plans to launch a major free trade treaty across 54 countries.
The meeting in Kigali is intended to formally launch the African Continental Free Trade Area Treaty, which Nigeria’s cabinet endorsed last Wednesday.
Buhari was scheduled to leave Abuja on Monday ahead of Wednesday’s launch but pulled out to allow for more consultations.
“Mr. President will no longer be traveling to Kigali for the event because certain key stakeholders in Nigeria indicated that they had not been consulted, for which reasons they had some concerns on the provisions of the treaty,” the statement said.
“Consequently, Mr. President’s decision is to allow time for broader consultations on the issue.”
The organised labour union, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), urged Buhari not to sign the deal.
“We at the Nigeria Labour Congress are shocked by the sheer impunity or blatant lack of consultation in the process that has led to this,” said NLC President Ayuba Wabba.
“We have no doubt this policy initiative will spell the death knell of the Nigerian economy.”