Nigeria: Reopening of land borders after more than a year of closure

Nigeria: Reopening of land borders after more than a year of closure

Nigeria partially reopened its land borders after almost a year and a half of closure. This decision was intended at the time to combat smuggling and encourage local Nigerian production.

This reopening is a surprise decision, as was the announcement of the closure of the borders in August 2019.

The commercial isolation ordered unilaterally, without consultation, had not been appreciated by Nigeria’s neighbors affected by the measure. It was a subject that came up, often behind the scenes, at every meeting of the region leaders.

Abuja could not keep its borders closed indefinitely and this reopening is not a Christmas present. It comes a few days before the entry into force of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), on January 1. A few weeks ago, Nigeria ratified the founding text of this great market.

Although the benefits of the border closure have been very slim, the reopening is only partial. The cross-border marketing of products such as rice and chicken, for example, remains prohibited.

 

The only benefit of the measure has been to curb imports, notably via the port of Cotonou in Benin, such as rice and fuel, which were destined to the Nigerian market. But for the time being, the Nigerian agri-food industry and oil refineries have not improved their performance.

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