Dr Ngozi Okonjo Iweala
Dr Ngozi Okonjo Iweala

The World Trade Organization (WTO) on Monday pledged to work as an economic institution with other financial institutions to support investments and technical assistance to mitigate Nigeria’s economic difficulties.

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the director-general of the WTO, said this at a meeting with Nigeria’s Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment Adeniyi Adebayo in Abuja, saying the support will also include “quality upgrade” to unlock some bottlenecks confronting the country.

Okonjo-Iweala, who took office as the head of the trade organization on March 1, is currently on her first official visit to Nigeria, her country of birth where she served as minister of finance and foreign minister respectively.

She noted that Nigeria’s share in world trade was 0.33 percent, which showed a small fraction of what Nigeria could do.

“Our share in Africa’s trade is 19 percent, which is below our share of Africa’s gross domestic product. This means we can turn it around… And that is the message I want to convey to the country,” she said.

“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,” she said further, noting the country needs to focus on adding value on transitioning from an oil and gas-based economy.

According to her, trade negotiations on agricultural issues were very important for Nigeria, particularly as the country is active in agriculture.

Nigeria is equally involved in e-commerce, services domestic regulations, investment facilitation, micro small and medium enterprises, and women in trade, she further noted, saying the country can take advantage of trade within the African Continental Free Trade Area.

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