- Okonjo-Iweala calls on business leaders to advocate for’re-globalisation’ and trade changes.
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Director-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO), has reaffirmed the call for “re-globalisation,” claiming that deglobalisation poses a significant risk to developing countries such as Nigeria.
She went on to say that allowing commerce to divide into rival blocs would harm global economy.
She reminded business executives at the 13th World Chambers Congress that present multilateralism serves global interests but requires urgent revision.
The World Chambers Congress, held every two years, brings together participants from all over the world to discuss common concerns that influence the activities of chambers of commerce and corporations.
Rising geopolitical tensions, the COVID-19 epidemic, the ongoing war in East Europe, climatic shocks, and the ensuing trade disruptions, according to the country’s ex-minister of finance, have raised worries about whether the global trading system still works.
“The WTO has made things better for business,” she insisted, citing the Information Technology Agreement, which eliminated tariffs on nearly $3 trillion in trade, the Government Procurement Agreement, which opened up more than $1.7 trillion in annual public contracts, and the Trade Facilitation Agreement, which reduced red tape and made it cheaper and faster to move goods across borders.
Nonetheless, she added that the WTO’s dispute settlement mechanism still needs to be improved in order to provide the assurance that businesses require.
Furthermore, she stated that keeping the WTO fit for purpose in the twenty-first century economy necessitates amending the organization’s rulebook, particularly with regard to digital trade.
“The future of trade is services, digital, green, and inclusive,” Okonjo-Iweala added.
She cautioned that splitting the world economy into two rival blocs would reduce long-run global GDP by more than 5%, with developing and least-developed economies particularly vulnerable.
“We must resist pressures for global economic fragmentation, which would be costly and could weaken supply resilience,” warned the WTO DG.
“A better path forward is what we call’re-globalisation,’ deeper, more de-concentrated markets achieved by bringing more people and places from the global economy’s margins to the mainstream,” she concluded.
“More diversification would make it more difficult to weaponize interdependence.” This is also true for essential minerals. Many rare minerals are not so rare, but we need technological innovation so that poor countries can harvest and process them in more environmentally friendly ways.”
She urged business leaders to continue advocating for multilateral trade cooperation, noting that “companies and chambers you run are at the heart of making trade work better for people and the planet.”
“We came to talk so that we could open the doors to rekindle the relationship.” “South Africa is ready for business,” he declared.
The ICRC’s Director General, who welcomed the team, stated that the cooperation between the two countries on PPPs stretches back to the ICRC’s formation, when members of staff went on a research tour of South African PPP institutions.
He implied that the Commission has reached significant milestones since then, with many PPP projects currently underway.
“We now have 82 ongoing PPP projects that we are regulating.” Since 2010, the Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved 102 PPP projects worth N10.8 trillion to be funded by the private sector.
“We have been able to achieve a lot in terms of using PPP to deliver on the infrastructure needs of the country,” he said.
He informed the ambassador that the Commission had also built a PPP Training Institute called the Nigerian Institute for Infrastructure and PPP (NII3P), where training on PPPs is provided, as well as an MBA in PPP program given in collaboration with the Malaysian University of Science and Technology.
Ohiani informed the High Commissioner that certain South African firms were already involved in PPPs in Nigeria, while others were showing interest.
“We look forward to further collaborations, particularly with regard to the Africa PPP Network (AP3N), which is scheduled to take place in South Africa later this year,” he said.