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A Reinvigorated South-East: The WTO Director-General Calls For Igbo Leaders' Economic Cooperation

 A Reinvigorate South-East: The WTO Director-General Calls For Igbo Leaders' Economic Cooperation Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala In a resoundin...

 A Reinvigorate South-East: The WTO Director-General Calls For Igbo Leaders' Economic Cooperation

Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

In a resounding call for unity and economic progress, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the Director-General of the World Trade Organisation(WTO) recently addressed South East governors in Owerri, at the South East Summit on Security and Economy. Her message was clear: it is time for the South East to seize the opportunity for aggressive economic cooperation and work collectively to uplift the lives of its people.

The two-day South East leaders' Summit on Security and Economy, held in Owerri, set the stage for a crucial discussion on the future of the South East region. With the theme, "South East Beyond 2023: Time for a Reset," the summit aimed to explore strategies for revitalizing the region's economy, enhancing security, and fostering unity among its people.

Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala's keynote address was a highlight of the summit, drawing attention to the urgent need for South East governors to prioritize aggressive economic cooperation. Her address resonated, not only because of her esteemed position as the head of the WTO, but also because of her deep commitment to fostering economic development in Africa. In her address, Dr. Okonjo-Iweala underscored the importance of unity and cooperation among South East governors. She emphasized that the region's solidarity has waned over time, leading to fragmentation rather than progress. Her words carried weight, reminding everyone that the challenges faced by the South East could only be overcome through collective effort.

One of the central themes of Dr. Okonjo-Iweala's address was the imperative for the South East to improve its internally generated revenue while maintaining responsible borrowing and enhancing capital expenditures. Her words resonated with the need for fiscal responsibility in governance, urging leaders to transparently and effectively use federal allocations.

Highlighting particularly on the untapped potential in the electricity sectors, Dr. Okonjo-Iweala encouraged the region to embrace privatization and explore sustainable energy solutions such as solar and gas. Her call to action in this area is particularly timely, as reliable power supply is crucial for industrial growth and economic development.

To bolster economic growth, Dr. Okonjo-Iweala proposed the convening of a South-East investment forum. Unlike traditional investment forums, this one would be exclusively for Igbo businesspeople. It would provide a platform to identify and address obstacles hindering greater investment in the region. This approach aligns with the idea of tapping into local resources and expertise to drive economic progress.

The WTO Director-General further encouraged the South East leaders to explore diversification strategies, attracting investments in pharmaceuticals, fertilizers, labor-intensive industries, and digital technology. Her emphasis on digital trade as a means to empower micro, small, and medium enterprises underscored the importance of embracing technology to drive growth in the modern economy.

Also, Dr. Okonjo-Iweala urged the South East leaders to tap into its diaspora resources to bolster the health sector. Her suggestion of floating a South-East diaspora bond or fund to secure loans for critical development priorities speaks to innovative financial solutions that can unlock the region's potential.

Her address at the South East Summit on Security and Economy served as a clarion call for unity and economic cooperation in the region. Her insightful recommendations, backed by her vast experience and international perspective, provides a solid blueprint for the South East's future development.

As the region moves forward, it is poised to harness its collective strength, embrace economic diversification, and leverage the expertise of its people to build a brighter, more prosperous future.

Dr. Okonjo-Iweala's words reminds us that by working together and pursuing aggressive economic cooperation, the South East can unlock its true potentially and achieve remarkable progress in the years ahead.

Obulose Chidieere, reporting, 

For Family Writers Press International

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