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FIFA,World Trade Organization to build on collaboration

Gianni Infantino handing over the Women’s 2023 World cup ball to Dr.Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.

FIFA President, Gianni Infantino and Director-General, World Trade Organization (WTO),Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala say they are looking to expand their partnership and help the economic empowerment of women.

Both organisations signed a Memorandum of Understanding in September of 2022 wherein they agreed to look at ways of using football to promote economic inclusion, particularly in developing countries, and co-operate on the WTO’s cotton programme.

Cotton is a particularly important source of livelihood and export revenue in the ‘Cotton Four’ (C4) countries, namely Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad and Mali, as well as some other countries, including Côte d’Ivoire and Niger Republic.

FIFA and WTO have been looking at ways to boost the sourcing of cotton used in sportswear from those nations.

Mr Infantino and Dr Okonjo-Iweala spoke during Making Trade Score for Women! – a series of panel discussions held at the WTO’s headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, which also featured the unveiling of the FIFA Women’s World Cup trophy in advance of this year’s expanded 32-team final tournament which will take place in Australia and New Zealand from July 20 to August 20.

Dr Okonjo-Iweala, who then spoke about the opportunities for expanding the WTO’s partnership with FIFA, said: “More needs to be done, both in trade and in sport, to narrow the gap between the economic benefits enjoyed by men and women for equal work.”

She added, “What I can see are the opportunities on the trade side, and when we couple that with the drive by FIFA and others to grow the game in developing countries, I can see the potential for trading services to increase.”

Writing by Tersoo Nicholas; Editing by Tony Okerafor