Abuja - Joachim Monkelbaan of International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD) has said that there is a pool of $100 billion for Nigeria and other African countries to improve trade.
Monkelbaan, Head, Global Platform on Climate Change, Trade and Sustainable Energy of ICTSD, made the statement in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.
Monkelbaan said the initiative would fast-track Africa's development but expressed regrets that in spite of the huge amount of money, only few countries had applied to draw from the fund.
“There is almost $100 billion in aids for trade waiting for the next few years, this is an enormous amount and there are not many applications for the money up till now which is very striking.
“There is a lot of money waiting but countries simply don’t apply for it because they may not be aware how easy it is to get the money,” he said.
Monkelbaan said that the initiative could improve trade performance and improve lives, especially those of women in developing countries.
According to him, the initiative can also play an important role in enabling firms in developing countries to connect or move up value chains.
Monkelbaan said that the fund covered a wide range of issues that were currently confronting countries on the continent.
He named the issues as trade, environment, development and climate change, among others.
Monkelbaan said that all that was required for any country to access the fund was a feasibility plan on how the money would be expended.
“Africa can benefit a lot from Aid for Trade because aid for trade is a very flexible concept, there is no definition of it.
“The only thing African countries need to do is to show that they have good plans for spending the money, to put in good applications for this money.
"But countries need to train and get ready to apply for these funding, then they should be able to get their money for anything that has to do with African countries long-term plans,” he said.