Nigeria's delegation seeks collaboration with WTO for digital, marine economies at IPU assembly

WTO Director General Dr. Ngozi Okonjo Iweala, receives the Nigerian delegation at her office in Geneva

Nigeria's delegation, led by Senate President Godswill Akpabio, at the 148th Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), has engaged with the World Trade Organisation (WTO) to explore collaboration in the realms of digital and marine economies.

During discussions with the media at the WTO following a visit to WTO Director General Dr. Ngozi Okonjo Iweala in Geneva, Switzerland on March 25, 2024, Senator Akpabio emphasized the delegation's purpose of fostering partnerships with the WTO across various economic sectors to enhance the welfare of Nigerians.

According to him, “we used our attendance at the IPU to pay courtesy visit to one of Nigeria's very costly export to the world, Dr Ngozi Okonjo Iweala; the Director General of the WTO. We came to thank her for the job she is doing for the world and thank her staff for supporting and standing by her to succeed. We, in Nigeria are very proud of her."

"We had discussions on the various developmental programmes of the WTO and we noticed that there were spaces where Nigerians can become major players. We discussed issues affecting trade back home in Nigeria and ways in which the National Assembly can assist in removing barriers, through legislation for the benefit of our people.

"We also talked about issue of regulations concerning digital economic contents, illegal fishing along the coastal states of Cross River, Rivers, Akwa Ibom and Bayelsa states. How Nigerian women could benefit from the recent program funded by the organization was also discussed. The establishment of a digital trade portal, where-in, all trade information could be accessed by our people, topped our discussion with the WTO.”

Akpabio noted that “the deliberations were fruitful and we are confident that with our support in all of these, Nigerians would be the better for it."

In his brief remarks, the deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Benjamin Kalu, said, "our best export to the world, took her time to bring us up to speed on the various innovations and initiatives of the WTO and what Africa and Nigeria stand to benefit from. We are going back more refreshed because we have seen a space here for Africa to thrive in business and in trade."

Speaking in the same vein, the WTO chief, described the visit of the Senate president and the deputy Speaker, to her office as "a huge honour. We were able to talk on those things we are doing at the WTO that would help make a material difference for Nigerians. 

"We spoke of recent program that we launched in some development program from the standards and trade facilities to help in improving sanitary and vital sanitary standards for some of the crops in Nigeria, so that it helps in diversifying the economy to even fisheries and illegal mining of the waters of Nigeria."

According to her," 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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