WTO: How Okonjo-Iweala’s emergence will benefit Nigeria — Association, NGO



The Association of Capital Market Academics of Nigeria (ACMAN) has hailed the election of Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala as the Director-General of World Trade Organisation (WTO).

It has also appealed to Okonjo-Iweala to use her office to ensure that developing countries are not made trade dumping grounds, and the age-long trade asymmetry which favours developed countries is looked into.

A statement by Prof. Uche Uwaleke, the ACMAN’s President in Abuja on Tuesday, said that various congratulatory messages from world leaders to the D-G showed that she represented ‘a round peg in a round hole’.

”There is no doubt that this development will raise the profile of Nigeria in the international community.

”It will also position Nigeria to play prominent roles in Africa, especially in relation to the AfCFTA and the Africa Agenda 2063, both of which are expected to receive support from the WTO.
”The WTO has been criticised for not catering for the interest of developing member countries.

”There is also the big issue of rebuilding trust in an organisation in which many member states have lost confidence in the dispute settlement mechanisms.

”It is gratifying to note that she has promised to address this,” he said.

Uwaleke expressed optimism that her exposure and relationship with the heads of other international organisations like World Bank and the IMF would facilitate their collaboration in the area of reducing poverty and improving peoples’ welfare.

Similarly, the Leadership and Entrepreneurship Advocacy (LEAD) Network, an NGO, commended Okonjo-Iweala for her record-breaking feat, being the first female and African director-general of the global trade body.

Executive Director of LEAD Network, Mr Chukwuma Okenwa, commended her in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Enugu

Okenwa said that the emergence of Okonjo-Iweala would benefit the country and individual Nigerians “if we can step-up our productive capacity at home and increase our goods and services visibility international’’.

He said this was necessary to take advantage of the flourishing international trade, which the WTO regulates.

“A situation where international vessels and ships come to our seaports to bring in goods and they leave our seaports to other ports or the port of their initial original take-off `very empty’ shows that we are not filling our quota internationally.

“The empty ships and vessels leaving our international seaports; should leave well packed with our local products bound for other countries and some other international market.

“There is a need for us to be a nation of export to get our fair share in international trade diplomacy; which has gains worth trillions of dollars yearly.

“Thank God for petroleum and its accruing benefit; but it is not enough for a country as populated as Nigeria and with great taste for innovation and trendy materials,’’ he said.

The LEAD Network boss also urged Nigerians and the government on respect for international agreement to gain the trust of international partners as well as make the work of Okonjo-Iweala simpler.

“`There is a need to abide with international standard and specification in order to check goods rejection and breach of international trade agreement,’’ he said.

Okenwa also urged the Nigerian government to improve its trade diplomacy and reach, thus, leveraging on the positive credibility and visibility Okonjo-Iweala had earned for the country.

“I believe it will not be long Nigeria and Nigerians will start to enjoy the benefit of having a Nigerian as D-G WTO; if Nigerians are ready to work hard for it,’’ he said. (NAN)