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Amid opportunities, Africa’s share of global trade remains stagnant at 3%- Okonjo-Iweala



The Director-General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has lamented that despite the vast opportunities that abound, Africa’s share of global trade has remained stagnant at approximately 3% or less for several years now.

She made this known in an exclusive interview with Channels Television recently.

She mirrored a recent report by the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) which revealed that Africa’s contribution to global trade remains at less than 3%. This figure is primarily attributed to merchandise trade, suggesting that African nations still engage in more trade with countries outside the continent than with each other.

Speaking during the interview, Okonjo-Iweala highlighted Nigeria’s potential to enhance the quality of its agricultural exports, particularly cowpea and sesame, which could generate billions of dollars, significantly boosting the country’s revenue.

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The WTO boss emphasised the organisation’s commitment to partnering with Nigeria and Africa to maximise these opportunities.

Hear her, “Africa’s share of world trade has stagnated at about 3% or less for many years but there are opportunities to improve that including in Nigeria. Let me start with Nigeria, Nigeria does have many opportunities to diversify its economy and its revenue source.

“And we are here at the WTO because there is an opportunity to help the country increase its agricultural exports. And the honourable Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment asked for help; how can we improve the quality of agricultural products like cowpeas and sesame where we stand to gain not millions but billions of dollars if we can meet the quality and certification standards by those who demand them from us?”

Okonjo-Iweala said the WTO is able to train Nigerian farmers to triple the nation’s income on these farm produce.

By: Babajide Okeowo

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