Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala to have a session with women entrepreneurs
The newly-elected Director-General of the World Trade Organisation, Ngozi Okonjo Iweala has pointed out that Nigeria contributes a meagre 0.33 percent to international trade promising that the WTO is ready to support the government to boost its share of exports.
The WTO DG in a media briefing during a visit to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Monday stated that Nigeria needs to diversify away from oil and process more agricultural products in order to be strengthened for bigger and larger trade on the African continent. She pointed out that Nigeria has greater opportunities to do better because of its population which consists of young people who need jobs.
Okonjo-Iweala disclosed that for the WTO to better assist Nigeria and Nigerian entrepreneurs with respect to improving the economy, she is going to have a session with women entrepreneurs both in the small and medium scale enterprise.
“I am actually going to have a session, we are going to visit the ministry of women affairs, we are going to have a session with women entrepreneurs – small and medium entrepreneurs – as well as women business owners. What we want to do is two things, a lot of women already run businesses and they want to access the export market but one of the things that they complain about is the quality in terms of marketing. We went to the cooperative and we’ve been able to assist them, increase their production to meet the quality requirements.
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“They use Shea butter for cosmetics and then we saw 200 metric tonnes of cosmetics, other for 500 metric tonnes so that is a specific example of what we can do working with the women entrepreneurs. So instead of talking theory, I am talking specifics to help them with the product. We also want to see the same thing with women in the fashion industry”
Recall that the WTO DG who is on a week-long visit to Nigeria disclosed that the purpose for her visit is to discuss how to better leverage the WTO and the African Continental Free Trade Area agreement, AfCFTA to assist Nigeria and entrepreneurs to improve the economy, expressing optimism that Nigeria could use the AfCFTA to boost trade and investment.
“We have to add value to some of our products. This continental free trade agreement is a unique opportunity for us to be able to engage commercially with other African nations and that will boost our exports. Then, when you boost exports, you will create more jobs.”
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“We are also going to talk about digital economy and how our young people are accessing the Internet for e-commerce. Those are some of the issues. What can we do to support more of that and generate more activities?”
On her itinerary, she said she would meet with President Buhari and several top government officials as well as players in the private sector, including women entrepreneurs.
“I will meet with His Excellency, the President; the Chief of Staff; the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment; the Minister of Foreign Affairs; Minister of Finance; Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria and the Organised Private Sector as well as Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and women entrepreneurs.
“I will like to meet with the women, and the whole objective is to see how the WTO can better assist Nigerian and Nigerian entrepreneurs with respect to improving the economy.”