Nigerian women must take advantage of African trade agreement -Says WISTA President

  • Lauds NIMASA on inclusion of women in maritime activities

(By Udeme Clement):

The Women International Shipping and Trading Association (WISTA) Nigeria, has urged women in the maritime Industry to explore investment opportunities in African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), which took off in January 2021.

The President of WISTA Nigeria, Mrs Eunice Ezeoke, said this at a press briefing in Lagos, to announce the association’s 2021 Business Luncheon and Magazine Launch.

The programme slated for July 8, 2021 at Oriental Hotel, Lagos, has a theme, ‘AfCFTA: Investment Opportunities for Women in Trade’.

She said; “The business luncheon is an annual event, which serves as a platform for professional capacity development for women in the maritime sector.”

On AfCFTA, she said, “WISTA is happy that Nigeria has keyed-in and embraced AfCFTA. The Federal Government is presently sensitising various stakeholders in public and private sectors on how to take advantage of the new agreement.

“Government has been advocating women inclusion in international trade by way of encouraging exportation of Agro-based products and other agricultural items. Women are being encouraged to take advantage and participate in the huge trade volume in African Continent and abroad.”

She hinted that there are banks willing to give loans to women in business, such as NEXIM, Bank of Industry (BoI) and others

She informed; “We want to encourage as many women as possible, to participate in this trade opportunity. Africa is huge with a big market, the economy is growing and the raw materials are there.

“Part of the training for 2021 business luncheon edition is to encourage women to either come as a group and form partnership to leverage on opportunities provided by government to women ready for AfCFTA.”

Commenting on activities of the body, especially with the effect of Covid-19 pandemic ravaging the globe, she pointed out that WISTA Nigeria has taken various strides in improving the lives of people around coastal communities, which include, provision of palliatives to stakeholders, fishing boats for women and among others.

Mrs Ezeoke further disclosed that WISTA has been helping female cadets graduating from Maritime Academy of Nigeria (MAN) in Oron to get seatime despite the challenges of securing it.

Her words; “Though Nigeria does not currently have a National Carrier, there are Nigerians who have vessels and WISTA has always been pushing to get seatime on those vessels owned by Nigerians for young women graduating from MAN Oron. We have succeeded in getting sea time for about three of them.

“The association partners Non-governmental organisations in sensitisation of secondary school students and expose them to the maritime industry, with a view to encouraging some pursue a career in the maritime industry”.

Also commenting on seatime, the Chairperson Organising Committee of the Business Luncheon, Mrs Irene Mcfoy, said that NIMASA has been doing quite a lot in terms of ensuring Nigerian Seafarers get the requisite seatime and that women are also not excluded when the opportunity arises.

In her remarks, the secretary of WISTA Nigeria, Mrs Chizoba Anyika, disclosed that the association has entered into partnership with International Labour Organisation (ILO) and International Maritime Organisation (IMO) on how to end the scourge of insecurity in the Gulf of Guinea.

She said; “In January 2020, WISTA signed MoU with IMO. The MoU is for WISTA International to partner with IMO for technical assistance, adding that the association is confident in the Deep Blue Assets launched by President Muhammadu Buhari in Lagos on June,2021, as it would go a long way in combating criminality on Nigerian waterways.”

From Left, Member of WISTER Nigeria, Virginia Nzeribe, Treasurer, Dr Odunayo Ani,
President, Mrs Eunice Ezeoke, Secretary, Chizoba Anyika and Chairman
Planning Committee, Irene Macfoy, after the news conference in Lagos.

Treasurer, Women International Shipping and Trading Association
(WISTER) Nigeria, Dr Odunayo Ani, President, Mrs Eunice Ezeoke and
Secretary, Chizoba Anyika during the news conference in Lagos.

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