Newly elected Director-General of the World Trade Organization, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has lamented that Nigeria’s global trade of about 0.33 per cent was too small to boost the nation’s economy.

Okonjo-Iweala, who stated this during her working visit to the Minister of Industry Trade and Investment, Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo yesterday in Abuja, noted that “Nigeria’s share is a small fraction of what we could do our share in Africa trade is 19% which is below our share of the Africa’s GDP”.

This is even as she pledged that the WTO would support Nigeria through Technical Assistance, Training and Quality upgrade to boost the share of global trade from the low figure of 0.33 per cent to a much larger scale.

She added that even at the continental level, the share of Nigeria’s trade which is currently 19 per cent is too small compared to what the country can achieve.

She explained that the Federal Government must step up action on its economy, stating that trade can be instrumental if Nigeria can add more value to its products and improve its infrastructure to deliver trade.

According to her, “Nigeria is 103 out 167 counties in logistics and that means we have a long way to go and for me that is a potential area we can invest to improve our logistics so we can take advantage of trade within the Africa Continental Free trade Area”.
“We have difficulty and challenges with our economy, we have to move fast, we have potential to do so much better and trade is a very strong part of that story”.
The Director general, however said in world trade Nigeria is active in the area agriculture and joint Statement initiatives.
“Trade negotiations on agricultural issues are very important to us and we are very active there, Nigeria is a leader on issues of e commerce, services domestic regulations, investment facilitation, micro small and medium enterprises and women in trade. She noted.
“The WTO is about supporting investment’s and supporting infrastructure in technical assistance, its not a Financial institution but it works with Financial institutions it is one of the economic institutions that was created with the World Bank and the International Monitory Fund, IMF,
these are three powerful institutions that working together can deliver a lot.” She said.
The WTO Boss expressed hope that Nigeria will take a very active supportive role in helping her deliver on some of the mandates.
“The WTO faces many challenges and also needs its own reforms to deliver results, the organization has not delivered a multilateral round of negotiations in quite a number of years and we have the unique opportunity of delivering the fishery subsidy negotiations”.
“The dispute settlement system that is paralyzed we have to discuss with all members including the United States on how to make this work again, because the rules based organisation cannot continue to make rules if the dispute settlement system does not work”. Dr Okojo- Iweals added.
The Minister who Congratulated Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala on her appointment as the Director general WTO hinted the DG on some of the country’s expectations regarding engagements in on going negotiations and discussions.
“On the on going agriculture negotiation Nigeria expects balance and equitable outcome that addresses structural causes of food and livelihood insecurity in Net Food Importing Developing Countries NFIDC and Least Developed Countries LDC.”
“On the Fishery Subsidy Negotiations we look forward to outcomes that result in reduction in over fishing and  unsustainable fishing practices with effective differential treatment that allows a sustainable development of  developing countries.” Mr Adebayo said.
The Minister of State for Industry Trade and Investment, Amb Maryam Katagum urged the DG WTO not forget the commitment to sustain and enhance the ongoing dialogue and action on ‘women in trade’, as a firm believer in the power of trade to lift developing countries, including Nigeria out of poverty.

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