Okonjo-Iweala, Ayeni Harp on Export Trade to Boost Economy

March 14, 2024

Director General, World Trade Organisation (WTO), Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala,stated that Nigeria can hardly develop without substantial export trade.

She said trade has liberated over a billion people from poverty adding that women were key to this narrative.

Speaking at an engagement with women-led businesses during a visit to the headquarters of the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) in Abuja, the WTO boss pointed out that women who engaged in export activities earn three times more than those who don’t export their wares.

Okonjo-Iweala said the WTO was prepared to further assist exporters to certain certification and export standards requirement as well as help the operators to upgrade the standards of their products to meet international regulations.

She also emphasised on the need to embrace digital trading, adding that the digital platform remained the future of trading.

He said a $50 million fund had been launched in Abu Dhabi recently to support women trading digitally and encouraged women-led businesses in the country to take advantage of the offer to grow their online ventures.

She said while credit and market access remained key challenges for women enterprises, they must stay focused and resilient to these constraints adding that the apex trade organisation was ready to offer support.

Similarly, Executive Director/Chief Executive, NEPC, Nonye Ayeni, disclosed that the council had since 2016, registered 29, 000 exporters while about 4,000 are women-led businesses.

Speaking at WTO/ITC interactive session with the Shetrades Nigerian Hub and other key stakeholders, she said the council in 2017, launched the Women in Export Development Programme and assigned women desk officers in all its regional and state coordinating offices to provide advisory services for women-led businesses across the country.

Ayeni disclosed that the NEPC’s collaboration with the Internation Trade Center (ITC) has continued to yield significant results, particularly in the implementation of the Women in Export Development Programme as over 4,800 Nigerian women have so far registered with ITC SheTrades.

She added that from 2018 till date, about 7,800 women entrepreneurs have been supported to enhance their export operations through the hub.