The World Trade Organisation (WTO), has stated it will work to deliver directly technical assistance, training, and quality upgrade to unlock some bottlenecks confronting Nigeria, its new Director General, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has stated.
Okonjo-Iweala stated this on Monday, March 15, in Abuja when she paid a courtesy visit to Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo; Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, and Minister of State, Amb. Mariam Katagum.
She described WTO as an economic institution that could work with other financial institutions to support investments and technical assistance to mitigate Nigeria’s economic challenges.
She said the WTO was created with World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF); adding that these three institutions, by working together, could deliver a lot.
Okonjo-Iweala also noted that Nigeria’s share in world trade was 0.33 per cent which showed a small fraction of what Nigeria could do.
“Our share in Africa’s trade is 19 per cent, which is below our share of Africa’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). This means we can turn it around.
“I like to look at the optimistic side. When I saw this I knew that there was potential for us to do much. And that is the message I want to convey to the country.
“This means that we must step up our action on the economy. We must do better and harder in several ways because of our youth who are waiting for jobs.
“Nigeria needs to focus on adding value on transitioning. We are an oil and gas-based economy and that has sustained us and still will. But the world is moving away from fossil fuel,” she said.
Okonjo-Iweala said trade negotiations on agricultural issues were very important for Nigeria; adding that the country was active in agriculture and also in the Joint Statement Initiatives, ongoing pro-lateral negotiations.
According to her, Nigeria is equally involved in E-commerce, services domestic regulations, investment facilitation, micro small and medium enterprises; as well as women in trade.
Okonjo-Iweala, while stating that Nigeria was 103 out of 167 countries in logistics, advised that it was a potential area Nigeria could invest in to improve its logistics.
She said the country can take advantage of trade within the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
The WTO D-G also noted that WTO was being faced with many challenges and also needs its own reforms to deliver results.