Having assumed office as the historic first female DG of the World Trade Organization, Dr Okonjo-Iweala has made a 4-day official home-coming visit to Nigeria, meeting with President Buhari, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Minister of Industry Trade and Investment and other strategic government officials as well as the Organized Private Sector.
The visit to Nigeria has been designed to achieve three significant objectives: First, to appreciate President Muhammadu Buhari and the entire nation for the role played to ensure her emergence as the head of WTO. Secondly, to dialogue on how the WTO could better assist Nigeria and Nigerian entrepreneurs in improving the economy, with particular focus on bringing women to trade, and thirdly, to discuss how Nigeria can use the medium of African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) to increase trade and investment
Undoubtedly, the high-point of Dr.NgoziOkonjo-Iweala’s visit was when President Muhammadu Buhari hosted her at the Presidential Villa where he noted that despite the robust support Nigeria gave to her candidacy, she was deserving of clinching the position. “We are happy you made it, but you earned it with your record of performance both at home and abroad”, the President stated.
In her response, Dr Okonjo thanked President Buhari for the remarkable support she received from her own country in the race for the position, saying “You nominated me, you wrote hundreds of letters, called up hundreds of world leaders. Without your personal and direct intervention, it may not have worked. The people of Nigeria also supported me massively. The youths were wonderful, always encouraging, backing me up on social media”.
At the visit to the Ministry of Industry Trade and Investment, the WTO DG expressed her desire on how the WTO could use the medium of African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) to increase trade and investment.
According to her, “AfCFTA is also a unique opportunity for us to be able to engage commercially with other African nations to boost export. When you boost export, you create more jobs. We are also going to talk about the digital economy and how young people are accessing the internet for e-commerce, those are some of the issues and there are more activities we can create to support that”.
The Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, Amb. Mariam Katagum, who welcomed her, said Nigerians are glad to have presented to the world, a woman of substance, who proudly showcases her ‘Made-in-Nigeria’ attires to the world even before her appointment.
During her visit to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs where she was received by delegates led by the Minister, GeofferyOnyeama, she acknowledged the personal inputs and role of the Minister in her in emergence as the WTO, DG.
Responding, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, GeofferyOnyeama, stated that Okonjo-Iweala’s victory is not only for Nigeria and Africa, but to the whole world. “Due to the trade challenges the world currently faces, the regime of Dr.NgoziOkonjo-Iweala is expected to put an end to it as the government of Nigeria is ready to support her to make a difference”.
The Minister of State, Amb. Zubairu Dada, in his remarks noted that Nigeria has every reason to be proud having given one of her best to the world who is currently making her proud. According to him, “her success is our success and our success is the success of the world”.
Dr.NgoziOkonjo-Iweala was accompanied on the visit by officials of the WTO including Ambassadors from the Republic of Barbados and Cameroon.