“The ECOWAS and Friendly Countries Trade Fair will boost regional trade and galvanize entrepreneurship development as envisaged by the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, the Convener, Sylvester Ejarkaminor, has said.
Ejarkaminor said this in Lagos on the sidelines of the ECOFAIRS on Thursday, adding that Nigeria would gain a massive inflow of foreign direct investments from the annual event. He said the fair would also boost the activities of the Small and Medium Enterprises as the exhibition stands were provided at affordable rates to encourage and support small businesses and that ECOFAIRS was born out of the desire to create a common business platform for regional entrepreneurs across various sectors and countries. According to him, no fewer than 32 countries and about 1,000 exhibitors are expected at the event, going by the level of coordination from various countries.
“The fair is in line with the objectives of AfCFTA to drive intra-Africa trade, and we hope they would use this platform to invest in the country,” he said. The Lagos State Commissioner for Commerce, Industry and Cooperatives, Dr Lola Akande, reiterated the state government’s commitment to providing a business-friendly environment and promote entrepreneurship in the state. Akande, represented by Mrs Helen Adeshina, said the fair was in accordance with the ECOWAS mandate to promote cooperation and integration in commerce, energy, telecommunications and agriculture.
She said that the Lagos State Government would continue to provide support for entrepreneurs and business owners to mitigate the economic challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic through its business-friendly policies. She urged entrepreneurs and startups to take advantage of opportunities capable of showcasing them internationally.
Akande said, “Lagos, with a population of over 21 million people, remains the commercial, industrial and financial hub of the country and also the gateway to globalisation in ECOWAS. The state is also the hub of regional maritime and aviation activities as well as the nerve centre of the non-oil trade in Nigeria. With the advent of AfCFTA, Lagos is positioned to engage commercially with other African nations to boost export and create jobs opportunities in the country. The state government has made available remarkable investment opportunities through the Lekki free zone, which provides the organised private sector access to the exportation of goods and services.”
She said the current administration had continued to invest heavily in transport and road infrastructure through the rehabilitation of trailer park and call-up hub in Apapa, network of roads at Lekki and construction work from Epe to Sagamu to enhance commercial development in the state. “We would continue to build upon the initiatives as a state government towards a business-friendly environment,” she added.