Major world economies and 30 African country representatives will converge in Abuja tomorrow, November 2 and 3 for Trade and Investment Facilitation Partnership Forum.
Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr. Okechukwu Enelamah, said the event is being co-hosted by Nigeria and the Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS), in partnership with the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Friends of Investment Facilitation for Development (FIFD).
According to the minister, “This event is a significant step in the drive toward facilitating trade and investment not only for Nigeria, but sub-regionally and on the African Continent.
“Nigerian and African economies need to be connected, integrated and diversified and facilitating investment and trade will be key to achieving these objectives.
“United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) forecasts that developing countries will need an additional 2.5 trillion dollars annually in foreign and domestic investment to meet the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.
“The World Bank estimates that Africa’s total infrastructure investment requirements at roughly 120-150 billion dollars per annum and estimates the gap between infrastructure investment requirements and available financial resources at about 60-80 billion dollars per annum.
“This government is committed to investment facilitation by creating a more investment friendly business climate and making it easier for both domestic and foreign investors to invest,’’ he said.
According to him, Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo is expected to declare the event open, and that other dignitaries such as the WTO Director-General, Roberto Azevedo, and Secretary General of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, Mukhisa Kituyi would also be in attendance.
Others in attendance are the African Union (AU) Commissioner for Trade and Industry, Mr Albert Muchanga, and Executive Director of the International Trade Center (ITC), Arancha Gonzalez.
Enelamah said the investment coalition would achieve coherence between the trade and investment policy communities and position the WTO to be more pro-development with actual deliverables for its members.
“Nigeria is part of this coalition because we see investment and trade facilitation as a positive and pro-development agenda, and ensure that the WTO is better responsive to domestic economic priorities,’’ he said.
Principal Programme Officer, Multilateral Trade Directorate of Trade, Mr. Kolawole Sofola, said Nigeria had made lot of progress in trading.
Sofola said it was a privilege to have Nigeria among the facilitation partnership forum.
He said ECOWAS was grateful for the role played by Nigeria in facilitating trade agreement among member countries.
In his own words, “Nigeria contributes more than half of ECOWAS gross domestic product and we know that trade facilitation enables free movement of trade among member countries.”