Senator Iroegbu in Abuja
The Executive Director, Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), Mr. Olusegun Awolowo, has noted that Nigeria’s contributions to intra-African trade and imports remains very poor, compared to its size of economy.
Awolowo disclosed this during the intra-African regional trade session in Abuja.
He stated that a thorough look at Africaâ€™s productsâ€™ demand from around the world showed that Nigeria was suitably positioned to replace supplies from other regions of the world on some key products.
But he noted that the 2017 statistic from the international trade centre showed that the country only accounted for one per cent in value of African imports from the world, of which 80 per cent was petroleum.
He emphasised that while this was disappointing, it demonstrated opportunities and also validates the case for improved intra African trade engagements.
He said: â€œLooking at Nigeriaâ€™s export potential, while regions in Europe, Asia and North America present the greatest potential markets, African sub-regions feature among the top 10 markets. â€œWe found that four of Africaâ€™s high demand products are among Nigeriaâ€™s 11 priority products identified to diversify our export base under our Zero Oil Plan. These export potential products signify investment opportunities along value chains for each sector.
â€œAmong the landmark partnerships are loan agreements signed between the Dangote Group for $650 million and the Bank of Industry (BOI) for $750million. We must commend the Bankâ€™s drive and passion for expanding and promoting trade in Africa, particularly its recognition of the importance of galvanising African countries towards an achievable future of transforming Africa through dynamic trade relations.â€
Awolowo added that the IATF would serve as a platform for advancing Africaâ€™s trade agenda. He also expressed confident that the session would generate sufficient interests and mobilise Nigerian companies to not only participate at the IATF, but to do so in a really significant manner.
He, however, urged stakeholders to aim at making Nigerian products the products of choice for African markets and the first step is to engage.
â€œOver the next few months, we will be engaging broadly with relevant government partners and the organised private sector to ensure that Nigeria showcases its best and maximises the IATF 2018 platform for enhanced trade relations.
“We were deliberate in our selection of participants for this engagement session. We have with us the organised private sector with representation from finance, insurance, commerce and manufacturing from across sectors.
â€œWe also have relevant government MDAs, states representatives who are all key to stakeholders in our export promotion drive,” he added.
The NEPC boss expressed belief in the existing potential where Nigeria have comparative advantage and aims to get competitive and increase productive capabilities.