Members of the Organise Private Sector (OPS) have welcomed the announcement of Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala as the new Director General of the World Trade Organization (WTO) with cautious expectations, noting that though teminently qualified she has a lot to do to ensure a level playing field, especially for developing countries. In his reaction, Segun Ajayi-Kadri, DG, Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), said:
“The African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AfCFTA) would need the support of her expertise for a smooth take-off and steady success as a huge component of the world economy. “While not guaranteeing unmerited advantages and disproportionate treatment, having an African at the helm of affairs in the WTO should give some comfort of understanding and assuage the noticeable anxieties of African countries in the world trade parlance. It may embolden the exploits of African nations when striking deals with the rest of the world.”
Also reacting, Director General, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Dr. Muda Yusuf noted that Okonjo-Iweala’s emergence comes at a time when the global trading system is faced with numerous challenges including supply chain disruptions precipitated by the coronavirus pandemic, rising protectionism and unilateralism, growing economic nationalism, imposition of trade restrictions covering substantial amount of international trade, as well as trust and credibility concerns among members. On her part, National President, Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce Industry Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), Hajiya Saratu Iya Aliyu said: “We are convinced that under her regime, the call for a level playing field and support by WTO for developing countries, especially Africa to benefit from global Trade will come to fruition.
“It should be mentioned that this development also comes at a time that Africa has been repositioned to increase inter-African trade through a landmark trade Agreement, the AfCFTA.”