Nigeria is in a position of leadership on a proposed Africa-wide trading bloc despite not having signed up to the agreement, the managing director of commercial lender Ecobank Nigeria told CNBC.
Nigeria has "shifted the balance of power," and "put itself in the situation where they now have the call," Charles Kie said in an interview Friday.
In March, 44 members of the 55-nation African Union signed up to the Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA), an agreement which proposes a common market across the African continent. The new bloc would result in the largest free trade area in terms of participating countries since the formation of the World Trade Organization.
But Nigeria and South Africa, the region's two largest economies, did not get on board, citing concerns over safeguarding jobs and cheap Chinese goods flooding the market.
The summit took place in the Rwandan capital of Kigali. Rwanda's President Paul Kagame is also chair of the African Union for 2018. Meanwhile, Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari did not attend the event.