Nigeria, EU, others announce progress on investment facilitation initiatives

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World Trade Organisation

Nigeria, Brazil, China, the European Union (EU) and other leading economic powers announced that they have made tremendous progress on investment facilitation initiative for development.

The group made this known in Marrakech, Morocco, during the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Mini-Ministerial meeting.

In a breakthrough for Nigeria, the group of World Trade Organisation (WTO) Friends of Investment Facilitation for Development (FIFD) pledged support for the success of the High-Level Investment Forum scheduled to hold in Abuja from November 3- 4.

The Forum will be co-hosted by the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment and the Economic Community of West Africa (ECOWAS) Commission in partnership with FIFD.

In a statement, the Communication & Strategy Adviser to the Minister of Industry, Trade & Investment, Dr Okechukwu Enelamah, Mr. Constance lkokwu, explained that FIFD is an initiative by some WTO members, including Nigeria as a core member to drive trade and investment with deliverables in mind.

The WTO investment coalition, he stated, is made up of Nigeria, Argentina, China, Australia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Pakistan, Russia, Singapore, Switzerland, Canada and the EU.

lkokwu stated that a draft declaration is being negotiated for finalisation at the WTO in Geneva, Switzerland, as part of the deliverables for the Buenos Aires, Argentina, Ministerial Conference in December. According to him, one of the objectives of the investment coalition was to place investment facilitation as a priority for the WTO Ministerial MC11 in Buenos Aries, Argentina.

The others, he said, was to achieve coherence between the trade and investment policy communities and position the WTO to be more pro-development with actual deliverables for its members while seeking active investment opportunities in their countries.

Quoting the minister, lkokwu explained: “Nigeria is part of this coalition because government sees investment and trade facilitation as a positive and pro-development agenda.” Furthermore, he said it was the belief of government that the WTO is better responsive to domestic economic priorities.

“This investment facilitation initiative is potentially significant to position WTO better to respond to the investment needs of developing countries in general and African countries in particular,” the minister added.

The Director-General/Chief Negotiator, Nigerian Office for Trade Negotiations (NOTN), Ambassador Chiedu Osakwe, expressed delight at the progress made so far, saying: “This is for economic growth and recovery, creation of employment opportunities and connection to global value chains.”

The Abuja event titled: “High-level forum on trade and investment facilitation for development” is expected to bring together African investment and trade decision makers as well as private sector representatives to share perspectives on leveraging trade and investment opportunities on the continent.

It seeks to connect actual investors within and outside the continent with African policy makers in order to produce concrete outcomes.

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