It’s great news for women both in Nigeria and globally as FIFA’s President Gianni Infantino partners with the Director-General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), Nigeria’s Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala to improve the economic empowerment of women.
FIFA in conjunction with the WTO co-signed a memorandum of understanding a few months before Qatar 2022 (September precisely), agreeing to innovate ways to utilize football resources for economic inclusion.
One of the ways highlighted was the WTO’s cotton program, which included developing countries and cooperatives in the production of cotton.
Cotton is an important source of livelihood in African Countries that make up the “Cotton Four” conglomerate – Burkina Faso, Benin, Chad, and Mali, including some others like Ivory Coast and Niger.
Since cotton is also a huge resource for making sportswear, kits, and some other sporting-related facilities, FIFA and WTO are improvising ways of boosting the sourcing of cotton, which also impacts fashion designers.
FIFA’s President and the DG of the WTO spoke on the development at a “Making Trade Score For Women” series of panel discussions held at the WTO’s headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.
The event also featured the unveiling of the FIFA Women’s World Cup trophy in a build-up to this year’s 32-team global competition, billed for Australia/New Zealand.
“It is true that the FIFA Women’s World Cup represents the pinnacle of excellence in women’s football. But it is equally true that in the past, the women’s form of the game has not received the attention and prominence that she deserves,” Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala stated.
She further stated the opportunities available in the partnership with FIFA, for women’s football and generic economic growth.
“The upcoming FIFA Women’s World Cup represents a unique opportunity to discuss more equality in sports and better distribution of football’s revenue.”
According to BusinessDayNG in 2016, Nigeria’s cotton production is put at 51,000 metric tonnes on 253,000 hectares, with an average yield of 202kg per hectare, while global cotton consumption is put at 24 million metric tonnes, according to International Cotton Advisory Committee (ICAC).
Major cotton-producing states in Nigeria include Zamfara, Kano, Kaduna, Katsina, Sokoto, Kebbi, Ogun, Ondo, and Oyo. The volume of production and consumption of cotton in the country rose by at least 7.5% in 2020 after the figures dipped in 2019.
So the FIFA-WTO partnership could yield huge dividends for the Nigerian economy and women’s capital.