NEPC eyes Ivorian market to drive Nigeria’s export earnings

THE Nigerian Export Promotion Council is targeting Ivory Coast to expand the country’s non-oil exports and boost foreign exchange earnings.

To actualise this, the NEPC is planning an exhibition of made-in-Nigeria goods in the Ivory Coast (Cote D’Ivoire) to intimate Ivorians on the quality of locally-made products.

The Executive Director of the Nigerian Export Promotion Council, Dr. Ezra Yakusak, who spoke in Abuja during the launch of the Made in Nigeria Exhibition and Nigeria-Cote D’Ivoire Excellent Award organised by SCIAYO and Ecomarkket, said the council was interested in boosting Nigeria’s non-oil export earnings.

Yakusak, who was represented by Director, International Export Office, NEPC, Mr Babatunde Falake, stressed the importance of the non-oil exports in diversifying the economy.

He stressed the need for Nigerian exporters to capture the West African market before extending to the other markets, especially with the signing of the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement.

Yakusak said ECOWAS, with an estimated population of 350 million and a GDP of $1.48 trillion, was a budding market in which the presence of Nigerian entrepreneurs had not yet been felt.

Yakusak said the Export Trade House, which was recently launched by the NEPC in Cairo, Egypt, would boost made-in-Nigerian products, reduce the cost of logistics on Nigerian small and medium enterprises while creating jobs for young Nigerians.

According to him, the trade house would equally increase foreign exchange inflows into the Nigerian economy.

On his part, the Ambassador of Cote d’Ivoire in Nigeria, Mr Kalilou Traore, said that his country was desirous of strengthening trade and ties with Nigeria.

“Cote d’Ivoire is increasingly interested in strengthening trade and investment with Nigeria, in particular because of the dynamism of our economies and also of the regional and continental market zone.

“In Nov. 2021, Abidjan hosted the inter-governmental meeting with Nigeria within the framework of the bi-national commission agreement. During this meeting, the authorities of the two countries took stock of their cooperation and signed many cooperation agreements.”

Nigeria’s non-oil exports fell by 39 per cent from N6.914tn to N4.194tn in10 years, according to an analysis of the National Bureau of Statistics’ Foreign Trade Statistics by Financial PUNCH.

Figures showed that the N4.194tn non-oil exports recorded in 2021 was 39.34 per cent lower than the N6.914tn non-oil exports recorded in 2012.

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