The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama, has said that as part of ways to promote better economic partnership in Africa, the country will in a short time from now, sign visa-free pacts with about eight African countries.
The minister, while speaking with newsmen on Tuesday, said that the need for the pact follows concern that trading among African countries had been very low.
He noted that with the new initiative, “it is expected that there will be upsurge in economic activities.
“Africa is the centrepiece of our foreign policy but it is a paradox that as a Nigerian, you cannot go to an African country without a visa unlike what is obtainable in Western Europe.
“To address this as a leader in the continent, the country is at a point of introducing an initiative to promote African trade as part of the country’s foreign policy of Africa as the centrepiece”, he said.
Onyeama pointed out that this initiative was already operated in Western Europe where one could enter any sister country without a visa.
“We want to start with about eight countries or see if they come up as a group of eight countries. At the presidential level, they agreed to that, and signed up to free movement.
“If we can achieve that within a year, then other countries may want to join and we believe this is a better way to go than institutional ECOWAS etc, as countries take so long to ratify agreements.
“We believe we can just start off, eight countries and they agree among themselves, then others will come in,” he said.