Abuja – The Belgian Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr Dirk Verheyen, said no fewer than 60 Belgium companies had indicated interest to invest in Nigeria.
Verheyan, in a news conference in Abuja on Thursday, said that officials of the companies would be part of a Belgian Investment and Trade mission that would be in Nigeria in June.
He said that the interest of the businessmen was stimulated by the success of the just-concluded World Economic Forum on Africa held in Abuja.
He said that the rebasing of Nigeria’s economy showed its diversification and the relevance of the economic sectors, adding that the favourable investment policies of the Federal Government accounted for the positive result.
“Trade between Belgium and Nigeria is more important than most people know. Our country is the third largest European exporter to Nigeria with a total export figure of almost two billion euros a year.
“ But it is time for diversification and for a more sustainable structure of our trade.
“This is why there was such a big response in Belgium when Flanders Investment and Trade, in-charge of commercial missions, looked for candidates to come to Nigeria.
“ So, more than 60 companies are coming from June 1 to June 6 to Lagos and Abuja to meet with prospective local businesses willing to partner us,’’ he said.
Verheyen disclosed that the trade mission would be led by Sir Marc Van Peel, the President of the Port of Antwerp and also the Deputy Mayor of Antwerp.
He said that the Belgian companies wishing to invest in the country cut across energy, telecommunications, transport, postal service, entertainment, engineering and agriculture sectors.
The Deputy Head of Mission, Mr Xavier Baert, said that the trade delegation would visit the Nigerian Ports Authority, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Trade and Investments and Ministry of Agriculture.
He said that sites of projects being handled by Belgian companies in the country would also be visited.
“The trade mission will focus on individual contacts with interested Nigerian companies in the field of port equipment, power, transport, construction, dredging, agro-industry, health and infrastructure.
“All interested Nigerian companies in the country are invited to contact us in order to arrange concrete business to business appointments,’’ he said.
Also speaking, the Managing Trustee, Nigeria Belgian Commercial Information and Documentation Centre, Madame Paulette Van-Trier, said that the trade mission would benefit both countries.
“The interest for Africa, and especially for Nigeria, has grown tremendously in all the European countries in the last years.
“And, because of the slow growth of the economy in Europe and the steady high growth in Nigeria, many businessmen are now focusing on Nigeria.
“Belgium, the heart of Europe, is no exception to that. We are not only looking at Nigeria, we are coming to Nigeria,’’ she said. (NAN)