Naomi Nwokolo, the executive director of the UN Global Compact Network Nigeria has ranked diversifying the economy as a topmost priority if Nigeria must attract more Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and integrate into the global value chain to achieve its vision of becoming one of the top 20 economies in the world by 2030.
According to Nwokolo, Nigeria must leverage sustainable investment and trade agreements with strategic partners that can offer mutual benefits and support the country’s development goals.
She stated further that sustainable investment and trade agreements promote responsible business practices, environmental protection, social inclusion, human rights, and good governance.
“They foster cooperation and dialogue on issues of common interest, such as climate change, digital economy, innovation, and regional integration,” Nwokolo stated.
She stated further that such agreements can help Nigeria access new markets, enhance competitiveness, create jobs, transfer technology, improve infrastructure, and address social and environmental challenges.
According to her, trade and investment agreements have the potential to drive foreign direct investment (FDI) and global value chain participation (GVCP) in Nigeria.
She further emphasised the importance of integrating sustainability into the various agreements to ensure positive environmental and social impacts.
Nwokolo said the world is facing unprecedented challenges in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030. According to her, urgent action is required from all stakeholders, including governments, businesses, civil society, and international organizations, to address climate change, poverty, inequality, and human rights violations.
“Nigeria is a country with immense potential for economic growth and development. With a population of over 200 million, the largest market in Africa, and abundant natural resources, Nigeria has the capacity to become a regional and global leader in various sectors,” she added.
Nigeria has already signed bilateral and multilateral investment and trade agreements with various countries and regions. For example, Nigeria has had a Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) with the United States since 2000, providing a platform for dialogue and consultation on trade and investment issues.
Nigeria also benefits from preferential trade benefits under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), allowing duty-free access to the U.S. market for certain products from eligible African countries.