What is the World Trade Center of Nigeria?

The World Trade Center of Nigeria in Lagos (WTCN) is one of the few members of the World Trade Centers Association (WTCA) [ www.wtca.org ]) operating in Sub-Saharan Africa (noting that there are over 300 worldwide membership license holders) but in the area of trade and investment promotion is one of the most active. Joining WTCN and WTC Luanda (in Angola [www.wtcluanda.com), a new WTC Accra (Ghana) has just ‘opened for business’ at the landmark SSNIT Building, whilst a WTC license transfer has seen WTC Johannesburg [www.wtc.co.za] re-open its doors and the same group of promoters also begin operations at the new WTC Cape Town office [www.wtc.co.za]. Prior to now, North Africa has been better represented, in the WTCA with active WTCs in Algiers [www.wtcalgeria.com], Casablanca [www.wtchcy.org], Tunis [www.wtchcy.org] and Cairo [wtcci@intouch.com]. In addition there are new WTC licenses for Cape Verde and Abuja a (Churchgate Group initiative [www.churchgate.com]), and recently a number of License Options were awarded to a joint-venture consortium led by Mochron Investments Ltd and International Business Network (IBN) for various cities in East, Southern and Central Africa, including: Kinshasa, Dar Es Salaam, Gaborone and Windhoek.

Within the WTCA the World Trade Center of Nigeria in Lagos (WTCN) has been a longstanding a member of the Committee on International Relations and Development chaired by Ousama Ghannoum of WTC Abu Dhabi (an Aldar Inc. initiative [www.aldar.com]) whilst our Executive Director, John Adeyemi Adeleke, has been the Regional Coordinator for Africa, and last October (2010) was re-elected to the WTCA Board of Directors in New York for a record third term. He was also appointed a member of the Board’s 7- member inaugural Strategic Planning Committee of the WTCA and in recent times (to date) has been a member of the WTCA Board’s Nominations and Compensation Committee (NCC) chaired by Charlotte Galloghly of WTC Miami (USA [www.worldtrade.org]). WTCN’s activities in Nigeria started with proposals to, and prompting of, Federal and State Governments in a direction that would make Nigeria a more conducive environment within which international trade might flourish and thus more attractive for investment. Such initiatives included: the establishment of Export Processing Zones (EPZ) directly leading to the selection of Calabar as the site of Nigeria’s first EPZ, International Commercial Arbitration Center, Tourism Proposals (to encourage the development of world-class hotels, and to explore prospects involving conservation), Industrial Research Parks, Telecoms development (using WTCN’s then vantage membership of the World Teleport Association), Agro-export proposals (for fresh vegetables and tropical cut flowers) and various Export Trade Incentives etc… Since 1986 with the down-turn in Nigeria’s economic fortunes, WTCN turned its activities towards a now more appreciative Private Sector to assist efforts in trade and investment promotion given the unique advantage of its membership of what has today grown into the most prestigious and effective global Trade Association (the WTCA). WTCN has always married trade promotion with investment promotion, particularly as trade (in both goods and services) has often been the forerunner to investment, in Nigeria. It is noteworthy that each WTC attempts to tailor to the economic demands of its locale, hence there are those that focus on tourism, shipping, exhibitions and conferencing, financial services and even regulatory services in partnership with relevant government agencies etc… as priority areas of promotion.

WTCN created an affiliate membership of over 400 leading businesses involved in one way or another with international trade and investment ( i.e. ranging from trading houses, oil services, manufacturers, retailers, property developers, estate agents, lawyers, bankers, shippers, freight forwarders, transporters etc. as well as some public sector institutions). A recent revisioning has led to WTCN coming up with a new Corporate Registration process and on-line directory, the former, very much based on rising demand from foreign businesses for up-to-date and cross-referenced business information meeting current global business concerns (e.g. Due Diligence needs, Credit Worthiness, Reputational advice, FCPA verifications etc…). Corporate Registration has replaced the previous membership scheme. WTCN is now very much an Organisation dedicated to assisting Nigerian businesses with all aspects of international trade and facilitating the connection of credible foreign companies with their like-minded and comparative counterparts in Nigeria (and in particular the Lagos area). We aim to provide a central source of business information and referencing. WTCN is also pleased that long-running efforts to develop a befitting WTC complex for Lagos (Nigeria’s commercial capital) beginning with the Minoru Yamasaki designed twin-towers development that was to have been part of a multi-island Lagoon City project in Lagos in the 80’s, is now to take shape as an iconic structure on Victoria Island, thanks to an initiative by the investment company of WTCN’s Chairman, T.Y.Holdings.

Who are we?


  • Retired Lt. General Theophilus Yakubu Danjuma G.C.O.N., after a distinguished military career, ending as Chief of Army Staff in 1979, moved effortlessly into the private sector building on a reputation that saw him joining the Boards of such companies as: SCOA Nigeria Ltd (a then French multinational West Africa trading company), Michellin (the French multinational tyre company) and Guiness (the Irish multinational brewery). Some 20 years later he went back into public service as Minister of Defence (1999-2003) and has chaired the Presidential Policy Advisory Committees of both Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo (from 1999) and Goodluck Ebele Jonathan (from 2010). Since retiring (in 1979) he also set up Nigeria-America line, Comet Shipping Agencies, and in recent years ventured into banking, insurance, real estate development and investments in the petroleum services and petroleum E & P (upstream) sector (with South Atlantic Petroleum, which boasts Total, Petrobras of Brazil and CNOC of China, as partners). His investment company T.Y.Holdings has interests that span much of Nigeria’s economic landscape, however he has also now set up the largest privately funded philanthropic entity in Nigeria, as Chairman and Founder of the TY Danjuma Foundation. He has been the chairman of the Board of Directors-Trustees of the World Trade Center of Nigeria, in Lagos, since 1982, greatly lending his wisdom and support, and thus to its sustainablilty, over the years.

  • Alhaji Muhammadu Dikko Yusufu is a lawyer by profession, a retired policeman and public servant, and in recent years an activist, social commentator and politician. M.D. Yusufu rose to the position of Inspector General of the Nigerian Police (i.e. chief of the Nigerian Police Force), a post he held from 1975 to 1979, when he retired. He was appointed chairman of Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) in 1994, selected to push a project that had stalled on many previous occasions. Lending his considerable political clout and steadfastness, the investor partners led by Shell and the Nigerian Federal Government soon opened an escrow account in Switzerland assembling USD$2.8 Billion to get the project off the ground. The first phases saw Nigeria’s LNG out-put from the project sold up in advance, mainly to European buyers (Enagas, ENEL, Botas, Gaz de France) for the next 21 years, and the take-off of an LNG shipping fleet as a subsidiary to the NLNG venture. In 2003, M.D. Yusuf ran as a presidential candidate, and last year, 2010, he chaired a committee that was set up to select a would-be Presidential candidate for the April 2011 elections.

  • Chief (Mrs.) Shirley K. Fiberesima Born in St. Kitts in the West Indies, Mrs. Shirley Fiberesima (the widow of one of the founding fathers of Nigeria’s television broadcasting sector, the late Eldred Fiberesima) was educated in Bermuda and later at the University of Exeter (in Britain). Mrs. Fiberesima spearheaded the birth of Niger Wives-Nigeria, a Non-Government Organization, whose members are foreign women married to Nigerians and who reside in Nigeria, to engage in charitable and developmental activities in the country that they had all come to know. The Association continues to be very active in many states of the country today. Mrs. Fiberisima was a key participant in the establishment of WTCN in 1982, with its founder, the late Chief Adebayo Adeleke. Although she moved to the United States in 2000, and now lives in California where her children and grandchildren reside, and where she is presently Director of Administration for a growing security company, she however retains her connection with WTCN as a member of its Board of Director-Trustees. She was bestowed with a tribal chieftaincy title by the late Oba Folawiyo, of Iganna (Oyo State), honoring her many efforts on behalf of the country.


  • John Adeyemi Adeleke

    is both a member of the Board of Directors-Trustees, and oversees management affairs as the Executive Director of WTCN (Lagos). A former Barrister at London’s Inner Temple (in Britain) he was also called to the Nigerian Bar in 1990. He was a ‘Partner-of-Counsel’ in commercial law practice, the Law Union, and has also run his own risk management and advisory consultancy for in-coming foreign investors, for the last 15 years. He has also been engaged to write for such publications as The Economist Intelligence Unit, The Economist magazine, Emerging Markets Investor (a Risk Waters publication, London) and the ‘Public Ledger’ (covering West African commodity trading issues, then an LLP publication, London). Apart from involvements with family related companies, and other Directorships he is also Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Pro-Natura International (www.pronatura-nigeria.org) a community development NGO with a strong presence in the Niger Delta and more recently, in rain forest management and preservation, as it relates to community development and carbon credits trading initiatives. Adeleke has been the Regional Co-ordinator for Africa for the WTCA in New York since 1997. In June 1998 he was appointed to the inaugural 7- member Strategic Planning Committee of the WTCA, and since 2001 has been elected three times to the Board of the World Trade Centers Association (WTCA) in New York. He was also a member of the Presidential Advisory Committee in 1999 in Nigeria, and some years before that, on a Ministerial committee looking into the necessary law and policy for the creation of Export Processing Zones. He is also known to be passionate about Nigerian arts and heritage.

  • Bukola Idehen

    is part of the Management Team of World Trade Center of Nigeria. Besides being the project manager of the company, she is also in charge of growing its business development focus. She is a trained IT, Telecoms and Data Processor, with a degree from Lagos State University. She has over fifteen years working experience and has attended various courses/seminars within and outside Nigeria relating to trade and export. Mrs. Idehen has worked in several companies in Nigeria such as Hibeck Ltd., City Business Computers Ltd., and Resourcery Limited, amongst others. Mrs Idehen is widely travelled and is an active member of the Nigerian West-Indian Association.

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