WTO DG, Okonjo-Iweala reacts to Burna Boy, Wizkid grammy awards

The Director-General of World Trade Organisation (WTO), Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has commended Nigeria’s Afrobeats stars, Burna Boy and Wizkid, for winning awards at the 2021 Grammy, saying such services should be encouraged for export in Nigeria.

The WTO director-general, while meeting with captains of the industry sector on Tuesday in Abuja, said with Nigeria’s large number of educated people, it has a comparative advantage in services.

Recall that Burna Boy, the Nigeria Afrobeat musicians and Wizkid, on Sunday won their first Grammy Awards.

Okonjo-Iweala described the entertainment industry as a vibrant services sector embodied by artists, writers and the new generation of Nigerian musicians, actors and filmmakers.

“Recently Nigeria’s Burna Boy and Wizkid won the grammy award for their music and I will like to congratulate and applaud them because they were an example of services we can export.

“We are exporting so much of our creative arts abroad, and this seems to be encouraged,” she said.

She further said Nigeria’s economy was at a critical juncture, adding that insufficient structural change had made Nigeria more vulnerable to shocks from the fall in oil prices five years ago.

This, she said, was coupled with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

She said the looming transition to a low carbon global economy implied more changes ahead, hence careful economic planning and management will be vital.

Speaking on change, she said Nigeria and WTO could help support the process of change because economic growth had been sluggish since 2016 when fallen oil prices pushed Nigeria’s economy into recession.

The director-general recalled that before COVID-19 hit the global economy, the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth in 2018 and 2019 was in the neighbourhood of two per cent, with population growth at around 2.5 per cent.

“The world bank estimates that even without the pandemic, two million Nigerians would have fallen into poverty in 2020, the pandemic induced recession is likely to have pushed an additional five million Nigerians into poverty in 2020.

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“Nigeria’s economy shrinked by 2.2 per cent in 2020 and will only recover to 1.5 per cent growth in 2021 according to IMF data.

“With the domestic market of over 200 million people accounting to Africa’s economic outlook Nigeria has the potential to be an engine of investment, innovation and job creation in West Africa,” she said.

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