WTO director-general visits with Nigerian leaders

World Trade Organization (WTO) Director-General Roberto Azevêdo took time to visit with Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, Vice President Oluyemi Oluleke Osinbajo and Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment Okechukwu Enelamah during a Feb. 15 visit.

The leaders talked about ways Nigeria could benefit from WTO's services, and Azevêdo expressed the organization's commitment to keeping Nigeria -- and the entire continent of Africa -- moving forward.

"I want to keep the spotlight on Africa and ensure that trade is a catalyst to achieving the continent’s development goals," Azevêdo said. "That’s why I’m in Nigeria today. It seemed appropriate that my first visit to Africa since the success of our Ministerial Conference should be to Nigeria - the continent’s biggest economy, and a leader in all senses of the word. I want to discuss how the WTO can do more to serve Nigeria."

Azevêdo pointed out that many countries all over the world were suffering from less-than-perfect economies, and that even though Nigeria was one of those countries facing obstacles, such as security, plummeting oil prices and government shake-ups, there were signs that better days are coming.

"Diversifying the economy to reduce dependence on the oil sector is a clear priority," he said. "Improving the conditions for trade and investment will be an essential part of the policy mix."

 Azevêdo was confident that, under Buhari's leadership, Nigeria's economic outlook would improve.

"We discussed how trade - and the WTO - can help in overcoming some of the challenges and seizing some of the emerging opportunities," Azevêdo said. "Nigeria’s leadership will be as important as ever as we discuss the future of global trade negotiations. I look forward to working with Nigeria to ensure that the WTO delivers further reforms which can support development here - and across Africa."

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