The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), with the support of the International Trade Centre (ITC), Thursday, launched the ECOWAS Trade Promotion Organisation (TPO) Network in Abuja.
The CEO/Executive Director of the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), Mr. Olusegun Awolowo, was also appointed to chair the first Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the network.
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The Network is a public-sector led entity, which will work in partnership with the ECOWAS Commission to promote goods made in West Africa.
ECOWAS Commissioner for Trade, Customs and Free Movement, Tei Konzi, who represented the President of the ECOWAS Commission, Jean-Claude Kassi Brou, stressed the importance of the Trade Promotion Organisations in accessing new markets and establishing linkages between local and international businesses.
On her part, the Executive Director of the International Trade Centre, Pamela Coke-Hamilton emphasised the milestone West Africa has achieved with the establishment of the ECOWAS TPO Network.
“As a network you can learn from each other, support growth into each other’s markets, invest in shared information assets, and amplify the voice of TPOs and the private sector as champions of the Africa of tomorrow,” said Ms. Coke-Hamilton.
Mr. Awolowo stated that this was a first of many steps towards building mutual trust and cooperation without borders within the ECOWAS region.
“As at today intra-Africa exports only accounts for about 16% of Africa’s global export, and more specifically intra-ECOWAS trade only accounts for a tenth of ECOWAS countries’ global trade,” he said.