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Osinbajo canvasses inclusive trade to boost ECOWAS economy

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Vice President Yemi Osinbajo says the opportunities presented by the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement necessitate more inclusive trade initiatives and expanded intra-regional trade.

Osinbajo’s spokesman, Laolu Akande, in a statement on Sunday in Abuja, said the vice president spoke at the inaugural gala night of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Trade Promotion Organisations (TPO) Network.

The President of ECOWAS TPO Network is Mr Segun Awolowo, Executive Director, Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), while Mr Guy M’Bengue, the Chief Executive Officer, Cote d’Ivoire Export Promotion Organisation, is the vice president.

Osinbajo said that the TPO Network, which was established with the support of the International Trade Centre (ITC), was a farsighted and insightful initiative of the ECOWAS, trade promotion organisations in the ECOWAS community.

“The network must present a trustworthy platform for cross learning and the sharing of knowledge and information assets.

“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 region to share knowledge and business opportunities, and develop trade capacity in our region.”

According to Osinbajo,  ECOWAS 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.

The vice president said the network had 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.

He commended the ECOWAS and the TPO network for the success of the inauguration and its First Annual General Assembly.

According to the vice president, there is the imminent task of enabling our region benefit maximally from the AfCFTA and other intra and extra regional export opportunities.

Dignitaries present at the event included the wife of the Vice President, Mrs Dolapo Osinbajo, Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, Industry, Trade and Investment; Otunba Niyi Adebayo and his colleague Minister of State, Ambassador Mariam Katagum, among others.

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