Nigeria’s foremost industrialist and President, Dangote Industries, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, has solicited the cooperation of World Trade Organisation (WTO) in ensuring the success of African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement. He said the biggest challenge facing Nigeria and by extension Africa region was a weak regional market which he dubbed as not working. Dangote stated this yesterday in Abuja at a meeting of members of organised private sector with WTO Director- General, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. Dangote said: “One area you can help us has to do with the AfCFTA.
We need a lot of support from the WTO to make sure that it works. Right now, the biggest challenge that we have is that the regional markets are not really working. They work to a certain extent but a couple of them are not following the rules. “Our company will end up being nearly exportoriented.
We will export excess cement, we will export petrochemicals. We will export urea. The only one we will not export is sugar, which under the leadership of the Honourable Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, we are doing massive backward integration to make sure if we don’t export, we will not import.” Earlier in her remark, Okonjo-Iwealaidentified lack of employmentasthebiggest challenge facing Nigeria. She said for Nigeria to substantially tackle its unemployment challenge, it needed to create over five million jobs in 10 years.
The country, she said, must also strive to add value to whatever was being produced as a way of creating more jobs. The DG said economic growth in Nigeria had been sluggish since 2016 when oil prices tumbled globally. “Nigeria’s economy is at critical juncture. Insufficient structural change has made Nigeria more vulnerable to the shocks in the fall of oil prices five years ago and now it must grapple with the impact of the pandemic. The looming transition to a low carbon global economy implies more changes ahead,” she said.