…Sets to Hold 2021 Business Luncheon, Magazine Launch
By DAPO OLAWUNI
The Women’s International Shipping and Trading Association (WISTA) Nigeria has called on women in shipping business to take advantage of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) which came into full effect in January 2021.
The AfCFTA Agreement which was ratified by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) on the 11th of November 2020, establishes a single market for goods and services across 54 countries in Africa. It also allows for the free movement of business travelers and investments, and creates a unified customs union to streamline trade on the continent.
Speaking at a press conference in Lagos on Wednesday, President of WISTA Nigeria, Mrs Eunice Ezeoke disclosed that the association is set to hold its 2021 Business Luncheon and Magazine Launch on 8th of July 2021 at Oriental Hotel in Lagos State.
The theme of the event according to her is; “AfCFTA: Investment Opportunities for Women in Trade”
Ezeoke said the association is happy that Nigeria has keyed-in and embraced the AfCFTA and that the Federal Government is presently sensitising the various stakeholders in public and private sectors on how to take advantage of the new agreement.
Speaking on the event, she said that it serves as a platform for professional capacity development for women in the maritime sector.
According to Ezeoke, a Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA) retiree, the business luncheon is an annual event during which series of lectures and papers are presented, followed by plenary sessions, after which the magazine is lunched.
She however said the Covid-19 pandemic affected the 2020 edition.
“The Federal Government of Nigeria has been advocating for women inclusion in international trade by way of encouraging exportation of agro based products and other agricultural products, women are being encouraged to take advantage and participate in the huge trade volume in the African Continent and abroad”
“There are banks that are open to given loans to women in business, such as NEXIM, BOI and others”
“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 in this years business luncheon is to encourage women to either come as a group and form partnership to leverage on the opportunity provided by Federal Government for the women in AfCFTA”
The WISTA Nigeria President also informed journalists on the various strides that have been taken by the association, including provision of palliatives to stakeholders during the covid-19 pandemic.
According to her, the association has been pushing on providing sea time for female cadets who are graduating from the Maritime Academy of Nigeria (MAN) in Oron, Akwa Ibom State.
“Even though Nigeria does not have a National Carrier, there are Nigerians that own vessels and WISTA has always been pushing to get sea time on those vessels owned by Nigerians for the 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 the sensitization of secondary school students and expose them to the maritime industry with a view to some of them pursuing careers in the maritime industry”
“WISTA Nigeria has given scholarships to best performing students at the Maritime Academy of Nigeria (MAN) in Oron”
“Many times we attend international conferences, some of the participants are shipowners and we are in talks with them on how to secure sea time for our female seafarers”
Also speaking, Secretary of WISTA Nigeria, Mrs Chizoba Anyika informed that the association has entered into partnership with the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and International Maritime Organisation (IMO) on how to end the scourge of insecurity in the Gulf of Guinea.
“In 2020 January, WISTA entered an MoU with IMO, the MoU is for WISTA International to partner with the IMO for technical assistance”
She expressed the association’s confidence in the Deep Blue Assets that were launched by President Muhammadu Buhari in Lagos on 10th of June.
According to her, the Deep Blue Project, initiated by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) would go a long way in putting a stop to criminality on Nigerian waterways.
WISTA Nigeria, a subsidiary of WISTA International was founded in Nigeria in 1994.