In a bid to expand intra-regional trade, strengthen regional integration, and drive more inclusive trade initiatives within the West Africa region, ECOWAS has inaugurated ECOWAS Trade Promotion Organizations (TPO) Network.
Speaking at the inaugural gala nite of the TPO in Abuja, the Nigerian Vice President, Prof.YemiOsinbajo, SAN said, “the vision of our Heads of State and Government 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.”
The ECOWAS TPO Network, an initiative of the ECOWAS Trade Promotion Organizations, is a public-sector-led entity. It is structured to work in partnership with the ECOWAS Commission, to drive inclusive trade development initiatives within West Africa, and also take advantage of the opportunities presented by the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement.
To achieve the defined mandate of ECOWAS TPO, all the stakeholders unanimously appointed the CEO of Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), Mr.SegunAwolowo as the President, and the Vice President is the CEO of Cote d’Ivoire Export Promotion Organization, Mr. Guy M’Bengue.
In his remarks, the inaugural President, Mr.Awolowo said this was the first of many steps towards building mutual trust and cooperation without borders in the ECOWAS.
According to him, “It is therefore imperative that through the TPO network we work assiduously towards facilitating the ease of trade for our MSMEs within the ECOWAS region and Africa at large, thereby building an army of exporters that will boost Intra Africa trade”.
He continued, “If soundly operationalized, this new mechanism of TPO Network should help a great deal in boosting trade among ECOWAS member states. Consequently, economic integration in the sub-region will be further deepened”.
The event was attended by other various dignitaries and stakeholders, including the wife of the Vice President, Mrs.DolapoOsinbajo; Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama; Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, OtunbaNiyi Adebayo; his colleague Minister of State, Ambassador Mariam Katagum; Executive Director/CEO, NEPC, Segun Awolowo; the CEO of Cote d’Ivoire Export Promotion Organisation, Mr. Guy M’Bengue; the Vice President, ECOWAS Commission, FindaKoroma; among other senior government officials and development partners.