The Nation (Nigeria)

Inclusive trade will boost sub-regional economy, says Osinbajo

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WITH the opportunit­ies presented by the African Continenta­l Free Trade Area (AFCFTA) agreement, there is a need to drive more inclusive trade initiative­s and expand intra-regional trade in the ECOWAS sub-region, according to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo (SAN).

He spoke in Abuja at the inaugural gala night of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Trade Promotion Organizati­ons (TPO) Network on Friday.

The President of ECOWAS TPO Network is the Executive Director/ceo, Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), Mr Segun Awolowo.

According to the Vice President, the TPO Network, which was establishe­d with the support of the Internatio­nal Trade

Centre (ITC) “is a farsighted and insightful initiative of the ECOWAS, trade promotion organizati­ons in the ECOWAS community.”

He added that the Network “must present a trustworth­y platform for cross-learning and the sharing of knowledge and informatio­n assets.”

The Vice President said: “The vision of our Heads of State and Government­s in resolving to establish this network (TPO) is to build a more robust and broader economic space for trade and investment.

"A major part of that effort is that the network serves as a platform for businesses and trade promotion agencies in our sub-region to share knowledge and business opportunit­ies, and develop trade capacity in our sub-region.”

According to the ECOWAS, the TPO Network is a publicsect­or led entity and will work in partnershi­p with the ECOWAS commission to drive inclusive trade developmen­t initiative­s within West Africa and beyond.

Osinbajo further said the Network has world-class human resource capacity to succeed in achieving its set objectives.

“The combined experience of the TPOS that form the network is mind-boggling. Second is our confidence in your resilience and commitment, which assures us that beyond the tunnel of those obvious challenges lies the bright light of a new era of trade prosperity for the people of the West Africa region and, indeed, the continent,” he said.

Commending the ECOWAS and the TPO network for the success of the launch and its First Annual General Assembly, the Vice President noted that “there is the imminent task of enabling our region benefit maximally from the AFCFTA and other intra- and extra-regional export opportunit­ies.”

Dignitarie­s present at the event include the wife of the Vice President, Mrs Dolapo Osinbajo; ministers of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama; Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Niyi Adebayo; Minister of State, Ambassador Mariam Katagum; Executive Director/ceo, NEPC, Segun Awolowo; the CEO of Cote d’ivoire Export Promotion Organisati­on, Mr Guy M’bengue; the Vice President, ECOWAS Commission, Finda Koroma; among others.

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