The Executive Director, Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), Mr. Olusegun Awolowo, has noted that Nigeria’s contributions to intra-African trade and imports is very poor compared to its size of economy.
Awolowo disclosed this on Monday, during the Intra-African regional Trade session in Abuja organised in collaboration with Afreximbank.
He stated that a thorough look at Africa’s products demand from around the world shows Nigeria is suitably positioned to replace supplies from other regions of the world on some key products.
But he noted that 2017 statistic from the international trade centre has shown that Nigeria only accounts for one percent (1%) in value of African imports from the world of which 80 percent was petroleum.
He emphasised that while this is disappointing, it demonstrates opportunities and also validates the case for improved intra African trade engagements.
He said: “Looking at Nigeria’s export potential, while regions in Europe, Asia and North America present the greatest potential markets, African sub-regions feature among the top 10 markets. We found that four of Africa’s high demand products are among Nigeria’s 11 priority products identified to diversify our export base under our Zero Oil Plan. These export potential products signify investment opportunities along value chains for each sector.
“Among the landmark partnerships are loan agreements signed between the Dangote Group for $650million and the Bank of Industry (BOI) for $750million. We must commend the Bank’s drive and passion for expanding and promoting trade in Africa, particularly its recognition of the importance of galvanizing African countries towards an achievable future of transforming Africa through dynamic trade relations.”
Awolowo added that the IATF will serve as a platform for advancing Africa’s trade agenda. He also expressed confident that the Engagement Session will generate sufficient interests and mobilise Nigerian companies to not only participate at the IATF, but to do so in a really significant manner.
He however, urges stakeholders to aim to make Nigerian products the first products of choice for African markets and the first step is to engage.
This, he said, is just the beginning. Over the next few months, we will be engaging broadly with relevant government partners and the organized private sector to ensure that Nigeria showcases its best and maximizes the IATF 2018 platform for enhanced trade relations.
“We were deliberate in our selection of participants for this Engagement Session. We have with us the organised private sector with representation from finance, insurance, commerce and manufacturing from across sectors. We also have relevant government MDAs, states representatives who are all key to stakeholders in our export promotion drive,” he added.
The NEPC boss expressed belief in the existing potentials where Nigeria have comparative advantage, and aims to get competitive and increase productive capabilities.