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Experts seek infrastructural development to foster trade, investment in West Africa

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Former Manager, Public & Government Affairs, Mobil Nigeria, Akin Fatunke (left); Chairperson, WATIF, Wofai Samuel; and Assistant Director, SMEDAN, Bunmi Kole, during the West Africa Trade and Investment Forum (WATIF) 2019.

As Wofai Samuel chairs WATIF 2019
Industry experts in West Africa have called on national leaders in the region to focus on infrastructural development to foster trade and investment activities.

Speaking at the West Africa Trade and Investment Forum (WATIF) 2019, a stakeholder conference held recently in Lagos ahead of its 2020 edition in Accra, the experts noted the urgent need for technology integration and policies that will facilitate ease of trade across the borders of West Africa.

In his remarks, Director, WATIF, Michele Branco, highlighted the need for tariff-free access to a unified market in the region to encourage manufacturers and other service providers.

According to him, the future of West Africa’s sub-region and the entire continent is in the hands of entrepreneurs, adding that WATIF seeks to create a platform where Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) will have access to partnerships and opportunities for trade and investments.

The event, which was chaired by international media personality and
pundit, Wofai Samuel, was an avenue to unite investors, entrepreneurs and key industry players across the region for trade, partnerships, and socio-economic collaborations.

In her remarks, Samuel said West Africa’s population is a challenge to its economic growth, as it is constantly on the rise.

She hinted on the need to reduce patronage of foreign made goods and services, while,”focusing on products that originate from West Africa and sold in West Africa to Africans”

Also, Former Manager, Public and Government Affairs, Mobil Nigeria/Chief Executive Officer, Kronikla, Akin Fatunke, said for the continent to be globally competitive, it must harness its trade opportunities to attract investments.

Meanwhile, with WATIF’s focus being key sectors that drive West Africa’s economy, like energy, manufacturing, ICT, agriculture,
education and health, the stakeholder engagement, addressed subjects
that have hampered trade and investment integration over decades.


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