The Director-General of World Trade Organisation (WTO), Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has hailed Nigeria’s Afrobeats stars, Burna Boy and Wizkid, for winning awards at the 2021 Grammys, saying that their services should be encouraged for export in Nigeria.
While meeting with captains of industry, on Tuesday in Abuja, Okonjo-Iweala said that with a large number of educated people in Nigeria, it has a comparative advantage in services with rooms to improve.
Burna Boy, whose real name is Damini Ogulu, won the Best Global Music Album category with his `Twice as Tall’ album while Wizkid won the Best Video for the song, Brown Girl, with Beyonce Knowles.
The WTO Director-General described the entertainment industry as a vibrant services sector embodied by artists, writers and the new generation of Nigerian musicians, actors and film makers.
Recently Nigeria’s Burna Boy and Wizkid won the Grammy awards 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 should be encouraged.
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 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.
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 to recession.
The former Nigerian Minister of Finance 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.
Nigeria’s economy shrank 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, Nigeria has the potential to be an engine of investment, innovation and job creation in West Africa.