Contact with the University was first made by Hilary Nwokeabia of UNCTAD's Division on Investment and Enterprise. Discussions about Virtual Institute membership then began in July 2012, during a visit from UNN's Vice-Chancellor and his Senior Special Assistant.
Located in the town of Nsukka in south-eastern Nigeria, UNN was founded by Nigeria's first president, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, in 1960, the year in which the country gained political independence. The aim of UNN is to be a globally competitive, research-focused university, responsive to the needs of society and delivering world-class education and knowledge.
The Virtual Institute will cooperate with UNN's Department of Economics in the Faculty of Social Sciences. The department offers BSc, MSc and PhD degrees in economics, with courses available in international economics, monetary economics, financial markets and institutions, fiscal policies, problems and policies of development, and petroleum economics. The research covers a range of macroeconomic and trade issues, such as economic partnership agreements, the ECOWAS common external tariff, foreign portfolio investment, exchange rates, and the links between trade policy, gender and poverty.
UNN's cooperation with the Virtual Institute will be coordinated by Hyacinth Ichoku. Holder of a doctorate in economics, he is a senior lecturer at the Department of Economics who is responsible for courses on macroeconomic policies, economics of international trade, and foreign direct investment. His research covers health economics as well as various aspects of poverty analysis.
Two colleagues will join him to support UNN's cooperation with the Virtual Institute. These are Moses Oduh, who teaches courses on macroeconomic policies, the multilateral trading system, and regional and bilateral trade agreements, and whose research focuses on foreign investment, trade agreements, and trade and poverty; and Chukwuma Agu, who teaches courses on macroeconomic policies, trade and poverty, and the multilateral trading system, and carries out research on macroeconomic policies, trade agreements, regional integration, competitiveness, trade facilitation, foreign direct investment, and trade and poverty.
The university is ready to share with the other members of the network its teaching experience as well as its advocacy skills in the area of trade policies at the country level. It is also interested in student and staff exchanges, and offers logistical support and accommodation for such visits.
UNN hopes that membership in the Virtual Institute will enlarge its possibilities for international cooperation, and will enhance the international outlook of the university, the skills of its staff and students, and its ability to positively influence the trade policies of the country.