Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has stressed the need to drive more inclusive trade initiatives and expand intra-regional trade in the ECOWAS sub-region going by the opportunities presented by the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement.
Osinbajo spoke at the weekend in Abuja at the inaugural gala of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Trade Promotion Organisations (TPO) Network.
According to him, the TPO Network, established with the support of the International Trade Centre (ITC), is an initiative of the ECOWAS, trade promotion organisations in the ECOWAS community.
He added that the network needs to present a trustworthy platform for cross learning and the sharing of knowledge and information assets.
Osinbajo 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.”
Osinbajo stated that 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 the region benefit maximally from the AfCFTA and other intra and extra regional export opportunities.
The President of ECOWAS TPO Network is the Executive Director/CEO, Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), Mr. Segun Awolowo; while the Vice President is the CEO of Cote d’Ivoire Export Promotion Organisation, Mr. Guy M’Bengue.
According to the ECOWAS, the TPO Network is a public-sector led entity and will work in partnership with the ECOWAS commission to drive inclusive trade development initiatives within West Africa and beyond.
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