AfCFTA will unlock innovation, economic growth across Africa – Sanwo-Olu

…urges MSMEs to embrace trade agreement

The Lagos State governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu has urged small business owners to position their enterprises to tap from the advantages of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), which he said are capable of unlocking innovation, growth and productivity across the continent.

“The advantages of this agreement are enormous with a prospect of growing Africa’s GDP by an additional $1 trillion. This presents a huge opportunity for our MSMEs to explore and take due advantage to promote growth, greater prosperity and development,” Sanwo-Olu stated in a keynote address delivered on Tuesday at the 7th edition of the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) Exclusive Fair held in Ikeja, Lagos.

Themed, ‘sustainability of MSMEs on AfCFTA opportunities for global and digitalised economy’, Sanwo-Olu, who was represented by Folashade Jaji, the secretary to the Lagos state government, stated that AfCFTA will significantly transform the MSMEs segment of the continent by translating spending power into economic development.

“As a people-oriented government, we will take advantage of these emerging opportunities by designing and implementing policies and programmes that would accelerate the actualization of our goals of sustainable trade, industrial, and economic development,” Sanwo-Olu stated.

The governor equally called on the organised private sector in the state to continue to collaborate with his government to enhance the quality and overall performance of the MSMEs sector for business prosperity and economic development of Lagos State and Nigeria as a whole. “I am assured that the MSME Exclusive Fair for many years to come would continue to serve as a veritable marketing and business support platform for all small businesses in the state”.

The governor thanked members of business associations in the state, especially MSME associations for their resilience and cooperation over the years, and charged all stakeholders to digitise their operations to take advantage of AfCFTA. “I hope to see a newer Lagos with a healthier and more supportive business environment, more virile, sustainable and consumer-driven enterprises with qualitative and globally-competitive Made-in-Lagos brands,” he added.

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Lola Akande, the commissioner for commerce, industry and cooperatives, in her welcome address, said the fair will further strengthen the position of the state as an emerging model 21st century economy. “The Lagos State government, under the Sanwo-Olu administration, has invested heavily in the MSME sector of the economy, with a view to harnessing the full benefits of growth in the sector.

“As part of the efforts of the state government at promoting access to markets for the sector, last year, over 280 MSME operators were sponsored to the 6th edition of the Exclusive Fair, at no charge.

In addition, 130 MSME operators also got free sponsorship to showcase their products at the state pavilion during the 2021 Lagos International Trade Fair,” Akande said.

According to her, the six-day exclusive fair among other laudable economic initiatives of the Sanwo-Olu administration, promises to deliver great economic benefits for the teeming MSME operators in the state.

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