WTO working to facilitate trade, investments in Nigeria –Okonjo-Iweala

The Director-General, World Trade Organisation, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has said that the global trade agency was working to facilitate trade and investments in Nigeria.

She explained that the WTO under her leadership was involved in the actualisation of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement to enable Nigeria to benefit more economically.

This, she said, would generate more industries, manufacturing, and also increase trade between Nigeria and other countries.

Okonjo-Iweala spoke from Geneva at the 2021 National Diaspora Day webinar with the theme, ‘Diaspora Integration for National Peace and Development’, moderated by the Chairman, Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, in Abuja on Sunday.

The former World Bank Managing Director pointed out that the WTO was also focused on facilitating production of vaccines in Africa.

She stated, “One of the things I’m thinking about now is how the WTO can help support trade and investment in the country. How can we help with the actualisation of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement? We have the largest population and the largest market.

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“In order for us to benefit more from the trade, we have to add value to our own products and so, we have an investment facilitation agreement here at the WTO that we are negotiating. Once we do that, it’s something that can create a better environment to attract investment.

“That investment would now birth more industries, manufacturing, keeping jobs at home and then increase trade with the other countries; this is also something that is very important.”

She added, “Last time, I met with a group of women from Oyo State who are making Shea butter and they could not export their products to US or Europe because it didn’t meet the phyto-sanitary standards.

“The WTO and the ITC worked with them to upgrade the quality; NAFDAC approved it and they have been able to export. So, this is another area we have been helping the small and medium scale businesses.”

According to the DG, the WTO is working with the International Trade Centre to assist small and medium scale businesses to upgrade their products to meet international standards for export.

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