Nigeria, Brazil, China, the European Union (EU) and a host of other leading economic powers today, made tremendous progress on Investment Facilitation Initiative for Development, in Marrakech, Morocco, during the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Mini-Ministerial meeting.
In a breakthrough for Nigeria, the group of WTO Friends of Investment Facilitation for Development (FIFD) pledged support for the success of the High-Level Investment Forum taking place in Abuja on the 3rd and 4th of November, co-hosted by the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment and the Economic Community of West Africa (ECOWAS) Commission in partnership with FIFD.
Investment Facilitation for Development is an initiative by some WTO members including Nigeria as a core member to constructively and progressively drive trade and investment with concrete deliverables in mind.
This WTO Investment Coalition is made of Nigeria, Argentina, China, Australia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Pakistan, Russia, Singapore, Switzerland, Canada and the European Union.
A draft declaration is being negotiated for finalization at the WTO in Geneva, Switzerland, as part of the deliverables for the Buenos Aires, Argentina, Ministerial Conference in December.
The Objectives of the Investment Coalition are:
Place investment facilitation as a priority for the WTO Ministerial MC11 in Buenos Aries, Argentina.
Achieve coherence between the trade and investment policy communities and position the WTO to be more pro-development with actual deliverables for its members.
Seek active investment opportunities in their countries.
“Nigeria is part of this coalition because we see investment and trade facilitation as a positive and pro-development agenda, and ensure that the WTO is better responsive to domestic economic priorities,” said the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment Dr. Okechukwu
“This Investment Facilitation Initiative is potentially significant to position WTO better to respond to the investment needs of developing countries, in general and African countries in particular,” he added.
In his remarks, the Director General/Chief Negotiator of the Nigerian Office for Trade Negotiations (NOTN) Ambassador Chiedu Osakwe expressed delight at the progress made so far, saying: “This is for economic growth and recovery, creation of employment opportunities and connection to global value chains.”
The Abuja event titled “High-Level Forum on Trade and Investment Facilitation for Development” is expected to bring together African Investment and Trade decision makers as well private sector representatives to share perspectives on leveraging trade and investment opportunities on the continent.
It seeks to connect actual investors within and outside the continent with African policy makers in order to produce concrete outcomes.
At the concluding session of the WTO Ministerial in Marrakech, Edward Yau, Hong Kong China Trade and Industry Secretary, in reporting to the Ministerial Meeting, invited the WTO to ensure the success of the Abuja event on trade and investment facilitation.