Nigeria and SA pass on joining Africa trade bloc
President Cyril Ramaphosa says South Africa will sign up once domestic legal requirements have been satisfied
Kigali — Africa’s biggest economy signalled its opposition to a continental free trade zone, saying that it would defend its own businesses and industry. The $3-trillion continental free trade zone encompassing 1.2-billion people was accepted by 44 countries on Wednesday, but Nigeria and SA, the second biggest economy, did not sign up, diminishing the plan’s chance of success. President Cyril Ramaphosa said SA would sign up once domestic legal requirements had been satisfied. However, his Nigerian counterpart, former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari, took a defiantly protectionist stance. “We will not agree to anything that will undermine local manufacturers and entrepre-neurs, or that may lead to Nigeria becoming a dumping ground for finished goods,” Buhari’s official Twitter account said. The AU started talks in 2015 to establish a 55-nation bloc that would be the biggest in the world, in a bid to increase intraregional trade, which sits at 15% of Africa’s total commerce. Rwandan P...