Home News Nigeria must diversify to attract investment, improve trade, says Okonjo-Iweala

Nigeria must diversify to attract investment, improve trade, says Okonjo-Iweala

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The Director-General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, said Nigeria needs to continue diversifying to attract investment and boost trade surplus.

Okonjo-Iweala stated this while addressing newsmen after a meeting with the Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle and other women at the Nigerian Women in Leadership event in Abuja weekend.

Nigeria recorded N1.41 trillion trade deficit between October and December of 2023, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

Within the period, Nigeria’s exports totalled N12.69 trillion, and total imports stood at N14.11 trillion — giving a trade deficit of N1.41 trillion.

Okonjo-Iweala said Nigeria must do more to attract investment domestically and also from outside.

The WTO boss said the government must also “create the environment to attract investment”, adding that this would persuade them (the government) to invest in certain production and in different kinds of industries to attract people from outside.

She said: “If we are going to go into surplus, we also have to think of how to make use of the African continental free trade area because we have a large market here but 1.4 billion is an even larger market. Those are the things we have to do”.

Speaking on the challenges facing women, Okonjo-Iweala stressed the need for women to support themselves and improve their positions in the country.

She pointed out that women had continued to face many challenges while trying to become leaders.
Okonjo-Iweala said it was imperative to increase the percentage of women in leadership positions, both at the state and federal government levels.

“How do we improve the position of women in the country? We have a very low percentage of women in the National Assembly. We have never had a woman governor, let alone something higher.

“That has to change but no one will hand it to the women. Women have to fight for it, but the men also have to support it because you cannot have 50 per cent of your population not participating.

“So, these were some of the issues we discussed today and we have to proffer solutions on how women could deal with the challenges of leadership.

“Most of the women in the room here are already leaders; they are not even struggling to get to the top as they are already there’’, she noted.

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