Micro, Small and Medium-Scale Enterprises (MSMEs) are significantly represented among businesses involved in formal and informal cross border trade and non-oil export, yet to date, they have been absent in trade debates (WTO, 2016). MSMEs account for majority of firms in most countries and for majority of jobs, yet most MSMEs (amongst which there are many potential exporters) are unable to participate competitively in the global trade value chain due to stifling challenges in the business environment. Currently the path to export from Nigeria is onerous and the challenges must be addressed.
To effectively position Nigeria’s MSMEs for the global market, debates must address some ‘before the border’ and ‘beyond the border’ issues. However, the political economy of trade policy remains challenging with certain groups dominating the policy discourse and many other local voices unrepresented. Rather than traditional institutional support, the balance of PDF II’s efforts is focused on the building blocks of long-term trade policy by strengthening alternative (or under-represented) voices that can feed into the policy process. Given this background, Project Development Facility II (PDF II) has organised a series of forums aimed at improving access to finance for non-oil exporters and developing non-oil exports in Nigeria. The first and second forums, which held in August 2017 and February 2018 respectively, examined challenges and opportunities that avail in financing exports and determined the actions required of different stakeholders to develop non-oil exports in Nigeria. The third was a two-day forum held in July 2018 in Lagos themed: Maximizing Trade Across Nigeria’s Borders. The aim of the third forum was to enlighten non-oil exporters on the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement and discuss trending issues in trade policy negotiations as it relates to exportation in Nigeria. The fourth forum held in Lagos focused on Export Financing. Representatives of commercial banks, development finance institutions and other stakeholders were in attendance to deliberate on accessing export funding and preparing a bankable export credit request. At the fourth forum, the Non-oil Export Cooperative Society was launched and stakeholders/participants pledged their full individual commitment to the Cooperative. This is the fifth forum in the series, held in Lagos and focuses on how exporters can gain access to foreign markets and conform to both local and international standards. Please click on the link here for the final report https://www.pdfnigeria.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/Event-Report-on-Market-Access-Nov-2018-final-5.pdf