WTO Director-General and Nigerian Senator Discuss Export Opportunities at IPU Assembly

During the ongoing 148th assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) at the International Conference Centre in Geneva, Switzerland, the Director-General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, and Nigerian Senator Natasha Akpoti-Uduaghan, Chairman on Local Content, held a crucial meeting to explore avenues for enhancing Nigeria’s export capabilities and access to global markets.

Senator Natasha, a vocal advocate for export opportunities in Nigeria, urged Dr. Okonjo-Iweala to facilitate access to global markets for Nigerian businesses, emphasizing the importance of leveraging platforms such as the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) and the Centre for the Promotion of Imports from Developing Countries (CBI) to bolster economic growth and diversification.

Expressing her hopes for Nigeria to capitalize on export opportunities under the AGOA and CBI, Senator Natasha emphasized the need for collaboration between the Nigerian government and international partners to tap into these avenues effectively. She highlighted the significance of non-oil exports in mitigating acute dollar shortages and boosting foreign exchange earnings for Nigeria’s economy.

In response, Dr. Okonjo-Iweala commended Senator Natasha for her advocacy and pledged to consider her recommendations seriously. The WTO Director-General affirmed her commitment to collaborating with Senator Natasha’s office to advance Nigeria’s trade interests, particularly in exploring export opportunities and promoting trade and commerce.

AGOA, a key trade initiative established by the United States, provides African nations with preferential access to the American market, particularly for non-oil goods. This initiative has been instrumental in promoting economic development and trade across the African continent, benefiting countries like South Africa, Kenya, Madagascar, Lesotho, and Ghana.

However, Nigeria, despite its vast potential, has not fully capitalized on the opportunities offered by AGOA, as highlighted by the dominance of other African nations in non-oil AGOA exports in 2022. The meeting between Dr. Okonjo-Iweala and Senator Natasha underscores the importance of strategic partnerships and proactive measures to maximize Nigeria’s export potential and drive economic growth.

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