13th March, 2021
The Director-General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has arrived Abuja on her first official visit.
Nasir Sani-Gwarzo, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, was among those who received her at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport on Saturday.
Okonjo-Iweala told reporters in Abuja, the nation’s capital that her visit to Nigeria was to show appreciation to President Muhammadu Buhari for the support accorded her.
She also said she wanted to discuss how Nigeria can benefit from her position in trans-national trade.
The News Agency of Nigeria later reported that the WTO chief will be in Nigeria for four days.
Okonjo-Iweala told newsmen the objective of her visit was to see how the WTO could better assist Nigeria and her entrepreneurs on improving the economy.
On Nigeria’s share of trade in Africa, she expressed optimism that Nigeria could use the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) to boost trade and investment.
“And to do that we have to improve our investments and add value to some of our products, because the AfCFTA is a unique opportunity for us to be able to engage commercially with other African nations to boost export.
“When you boost export, you create more jobs. We are also going to talk about the digital economy and how young people are accessing the internet for e-commerce, those are some of the issues and more activities we can create to support that,” she said.
Dr Nasir Sani-Gwarzo said the visit presented a unique moment and opportunity to thank the world for supporting us to achieve this feat of having a Nigerian as the head of the WTO.
“We have received a lot of support from many countries, we appreciate them. Her visit is specifically to start from home to say thank you to the President and Nigerians who supported her from home and in the Diaspora.
“Tremendous support has gone into the process and we are grateful that she emerged, after a very thoroughly contested process as the D-G. It is a proud moment for Nigeria, for herself and also for women in the world,” Sani-Gwarzo said.
According to the programme of the visit, on Monday, March 15, she will be meeting with the President and the Chief of Staff to the President at the presidential villa.
She will later hold a meeting with the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo, and Minister of state, Mariam Katagum at the ministry.
On Tuesday, March 16, Okonjo-Iweala will meet with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Godwin Emefiele, after which she will meet the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, among others.
She will proceed to a meeting with the Captains of Industry, which will be followed by a Press Conference at Transcorp Hilton, Abuja.
Furthermore, on Wednesday, March 17, the WTO D-G will hold a meeting with the Women Entrepreneurs, SheTrade, and operators of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).
This will be followed by a press conference with some ministers.
A dinner and reception in honour of Okonjo-Iweala will hold at Transcorp Hilton, Abuja, to round-off the visit
Okonjo-Iweala is the first African woman to be DG of WTO.
She assumed duty at the WTO headquarters in Geneva on 1 March.