The Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) and the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency (SMEDAN) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to facilitate the first West African MSME Export Opportunities Expo (WAMSME).
Ezra Yakusak, Executive Director/CEO of NEPC, said the MoU was a strategic collaboration aimed at improving the visibility of made-in-Nigeria goods and services in West Africa and the rest of the market.
“Given the current economic reality of the country occasioned by the decline in the price of oil on the world market, there is no better time than now to further promote the non-oil sector aggressively as a means of saving the economy. our country’s struggling economy,” Yakusak said.
“We are all aware of the fact that these are indeed not the best times for local industries in our country. At NEPC, we strongly believe that if we are serious about diversifying the economy, a vital approach would be to support existing SMEs and help revive struggling local industries. The time has come for us to encourage the development of local sectors, to promote sponsorship for locally manufactured products and also to create access for them to international markets.
“It is also pertinent to note here that Nigeria is a huge market and trading hub that cannot be ignored by the international business community and investors. Therefore, Nigerian MSMEs should also take advantage of every available step to package their products to international standards and take advantage of every global platform to showcase these products to enhance their acceptability worldwide,” he said. added.
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Yakusak expressed his optimism that the initiative will help flood the West African and African market as a whole with quality Nigerian-made products and in turn increase the inflow of foreign currency into the Nigerian economy. .
“This has become necessary given the take-off of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement. We cannot sit back and wait for our market to be invaded by foreign products before entering their markets with our products. We need to leverage our comparative advantage of made in Nigeria products in the African market, especially in the West African region,” he added.
Also speaking, CEO of SMEDAN, Wale Fasanya, said the collaboration which was the first of its kind had a vision to go beyond the West African market to infiltrate the global market.
“As an agency that facilitates the development of MSMEs in Nigeria, we will ensure the implementation of this MoU by boosting the export of Nigerian-made products by supporting them with the necessary information and logistics they need. need,” he said.