Trade groups in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) sub-region must push towards a more inclusive trade initiatives and expand intra-regional trade to take advantage of opportunities presented by the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, has said.
Osinbajo stated this on Friday in Abuja at the inaugural gala night of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Trade Promotion Organizations (TPO) Network.
The President of ECOWAS TPO Network is the Executive Director/CEO, Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), Segun Awolowo, while the Vice President is the CEO of Cote d’Ivoire Export Promotion Organisation, Guy M’Bengue.
Osinbajo described the TPO Network established with the support of the International Trade Centre (ITC) as “a farsighted and insightful initiative of the ECOWAS, trade promotion organizations in the ECOWAS community.”
He said the Network “must present a trustworthy platform for cross learning and the sharing of knowledge and information assets.”
The Vice President said the vision of the Heads of State and Governments in resolving to establish the network (TPO) was 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 said.
ECOWAS said the TPO Network was a public-sector led entity that would work in partnership with the ECOWAS Commission to drive inclusive trade development initiatives within West Africa sub-region and beyond.
The VP further said 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 our region benefit maximally from the AfCFTA and other intra and extra regional export opportunities.”
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