During the Forbes Leading Women Summit 2021 edition tagged “One-on-One with Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala,” held virtually on Tuesday as part of activities to mark the 2021 International Women’s Day, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Director-General of the World Trade Organization urged Nigeria and other African countries to guard against entering into unfavourable bilateral trade agreements with rich countries.
“The WTO is important because it provides a forum for multilateral trade. So, what else has Nigeria got to do, and African countries have to do so that we do not enter into a lot of bilateral trade relationships with rich countries where we will be at a disadvantage? We must bring them to the multilateral negotiation table at the WTO, Nigeria included.” she said.
She stated that the WTO would develop rules to strengthen the Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and integrate them into regional and global value chains as a way of bringing in marginalized population. She, however, urged governments to empower women with educational, financial, and legal supports and develop policies that could identify and fill the gaps in supporting women’s empowerment.
“But above all, we have to make sure that women are given a chance in the cabinets and in the private sector as CEOs,” she said, adding that women must be prepared to deal with gender stereotypes without being distracted.