Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has said there is a need to drive more inclusive trade initiatives and expand intra-regional trade in the ECOWAS sub-region with the opportunities presented by the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement.

Prof. Osinbajo stated this in Abuja at the inaugural gala night of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Trade Promotion Organizations (TPO) Network.

Osinbajo who noted that the TPO Network was established with the support of the International Trade Centre (ITC), “is a farsighted and insightful initiative of the ECOWAS, trade promotion organizations in the ECOWAS community said the Network “must present a trustworthy platform for cross-learning and the sharing of knowledge and information assets.”

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, and his wife Mrs. Dolapo Osinbajo attend the ECOWAS TPO Network Dinner at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel in Abuja. 16th July, 2021. Photos: Tolani Alli

“The vision of our Heads of State and Governments in resolving to establish this network (TPO) is to build a more robust and broader economic space for trade and investment. A major part of that effort is that the network serves as a platform for businesses and trade promotion agencies in our sub-region to share knowledge and business opportunities, and develop trade capacity in our sub-region,” he added.

The TPO Network is a public-sector led entity that would work in partnership with the ECOWAS commission to drive inclusive trade development initiatives within West Africa and beyond.

Speaking further, Osinbajo said the Network has world class human resource capacity to succeed in achieving its set objectives. He pointed out that the combined experience of the TPOs that form the network is mind boggling.

“Second is our confidence in your resilience and commitment, which assures us that beyond the tunnel of those obvious challenges lies the bright light of a new era of trade prosperity for the people of the West Africa region and, indeed, the continent,” he said.

While commending the ECOWAS and the TPO network for the success of the launch and its First Annual General Assembly, the Vice President stated that the imminent task before them is enabling the region benefit maximally from the AfCFTA and other intra and extra-regional export opportunities.

Dignitaries present at the event include the wife of the Vice President, Mrs. Dolapo Osinbajo; Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama; Industry, Trade and Investment; Otunba Niyi Adebayo; his colleague Minister of State, Ambassador Mariam Katagum; Executive Director/CEO, NEPC, Segun Awolowo; the CEO of Cote d’Ivoire Export Promotion Organisation, Mr. Guy M’Bengue; the Vice President, ECOWAS Commission, Finda Koroma; among other senior government officials and development partners.

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