The Director General of the World Trade Organization, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, says her meeting with President Bola Tinubu in Abuja on Tuesday was aimed at reducing the economic hardship bedevilling Nigerians.
Speaking with journalists after the meeting, Okonjo-Iweala stressed that her “quiet visit”, which was not an official WTO mission, focused on how to support Nigerians at such a time of need.
“We all know that things are very difficult for Nigerians outside; everyone is struggling. I’m here myself on a quiet visit.
“So, this was not really an official WTO mission but we were able to engage with Mr President to talk about ‘what are the kinds of programmes that could be put in place to make sure that the suffering of Nigerians are being alleviated?’”
The WTO boss disclosed that she had “a really good conversation” with Tinubu, which considered community and grassroots programmes that could be put in place to create jobs for young people and supported women and children, whom she underscored were the most vulnerable.
She noted that they discussed the importance of long-term investment opportunities that Nigeria could seize, including in the pharmaceutical industry.
“We also talked about what type of support the WTO – the World Trade Organization – can bring,” Okonjo-Iweala said.
“We’re already working in Nigeria with women, in particular, who own small and medium enterprises, to try to help them upgrade the quality of their products., whether it’s in the agricultural area, in textiles, and in other areas so that they can sell more internationally.”
The economic expert also hinted at interventions in the area of digital trade, which she described as the wave of the future.
“So, how do we train, empower, and give Nigerian women and owners of small and medium enterprises support, so that they can trade more and create more jobs? That’s what’s needed now, helping Nigerians to alleviate the difficult conditions that they are in,” she added.