The Executive Director/CEO of the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), Mr Olusegun Awolowo, hosted the High Commissioner of the United Republic of Tanzania to Nigeria, H.E Dr Benson Bana at an opening ceremony of the Kiswahili Language Training Programme at the Export House, Abuja.
The opening ceremony is a culmination of the yearlong efforts of the NEPC under the Institutional Strengthening Workstream of the Export Expansion Facility Program to set up an international language learning programme for the staff of the NEPC.
The Executive Director/CEO NEPC stated that “as the apex government agency mandated to promote and diversify the non-oil exports sector of the Nigerian economy, one of the challenges that impede the achievement of this mandate is the language barrier.
“The organisational mandate of the council warrants high-level interactions between the council’s officials and their counterparts from other International Trade Promotion Organisations, especially on trade-related issues.
“Consequently there is an ardent need for the council’s staff as trade promotion officers to have a basic understanding of other international languages.
“This prompted me to mandate management to put in place appropriate mechanisms to facilitate the training of officers in international languages like French, Mandarin, Kiswahili, Arabic and Portuguese amongst others.
“This will enhance officers’ ability to hold conversations with their counterparts from other Non-English speaking countries and engage in basic trade negotiations at international fora within and outside the country.”
Bana in a statement remarked: “I was heartened to learn of the council’s drive to train staff in Kiswahili because at that time the high commission was already planning to set up ‘Kiswahili Clubs’ all over the West African Sub Region, we had no other option than to agree to the timely request.”
This Kiswahili Language Training Programme represents a commitment from the Nigerian Export Promotion Council and the High Commission of the United Republic of Tanzania to leverage the existing trade relations and bilateral ties to promote trade and investments between both countries in preparation to take full advantage of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).