Okonjo-Iweala Promises Technical Assistance To Unlock Bottlenecks Confronting Nigeria


Director-General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala says Nigeria’s share in world trade is 0.33 per cent and noted that the world trade body will work towards delivering technical assistance, training and quality upgrade to unlock some bottlenecks confronting Nigeria.

She stated this on Monday in Abuja, the Nigerian capital when she visited Adeniyi Adebayo, Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment and Minister of State, Mariam Katagum and later met with the country’s President Muhammadu Buhari.

Ms Okonjo-Iweala, a former finance minister of Nigeria arrived in the country Saturday on a five-day working visit, two weeks after she assumed leadership of the global body.

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“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,” she said.

“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.

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“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.

Speaking on COVID-19, Okonjo-Iweala said the WTO must contribute more to the solutions of vaccines therapeutics and diagnostics, especially to the poor countries.

On its dispute settlement system that was paralysed, she said it had to discuss with all members including the U.S. on how to make it work again.

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She said this was because the rules-based organisation could not continue to make rules if the dispute settlement system did not work.

“Our vision for the WTO is to face these challenges. I hope that Nigeria will take a very active supportive role in helping me to deliver on some of the messages,” she said.

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