Nigeria Seeks Collaboration with WTO for Digital and Marine Economy Advancements

By Joke Kujenya, JKNMedia

AMID the 148th Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), Nigeria’s delegation, led by Senate President Godswill Akpabio, embarked on discussions with the World Trade Organization (WTO) to explore avenues of collaboration for the advancement of the nation’s digital and marine economies.

During a courtesy visit to the Director-General of the WTO, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, in Geneva on Monday, Senator Akpabio highlighted the importance of seeking collaboration with the WTO across various sectors for the collective benefit of Nigerians.

“We used our attendance at the IPU to pay a courtesy visit to one of Nigeria’s esteemed exports to the world, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the Director-General of the WTO. We came to express our gratitude for her remarkable leadership and to explore the avenues of collaboration with the organization for the advancement of our nation,” stated Senator Akpabio.

Discussions between the Nigerian delegation and the WTO encompassed developmental programmes, trade regulations and opportunities for Nigerian participation in the digital economy.

Specific attention was drawn to issues such as illegal fishing along Nigeria’s coastal states and the empowerment of Nigerian women through recent WTO-funded programmes.

Senator Akpabio emphasized the potential for Nigerians to become significant players in various sectors facilitated by the WTO’s initiatives. He expressed confidence that through legislative support and collaboration, Nigeria stands to benefit immensely.

Echoing Senator Akpabio’s sentiments, Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Benjamin Kalu, remarked: “Our engagement with Dr. Okonjo-Iweala has enlightened us on the numerous opportunities available for Africa and Nigeria. We are returning home invigorated, recognizing the potential for Africa to excel in trade and business.”

In response, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala described the visit as “a tremendous honour,” stressing the importance of WTO programmes aimed at enhancing Nigeria’s agricultural standards and combating illegal practices in her waters.

“We discussed initiatives such as the standard and trade facilities programme to improve sanitary standards for Nigerian crops and combat illegal mining in Nigeria’s waters, aiming to diversify the economy,” noted Dr. Okonjo-Iweala.

The meeting it was noted, underscores the commitment of both parties to foster collaboration for the economic advancement of Nigeria, with mutual optimism about the potential outcomes of their partnership.

Dr. Okonjo-Iweala then quipped: “A lot of things on the table have already been discussed. I am honoured by this visit, and I am home sick.”

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