By Jonah Nwokpoku
The volume of trade between the European Union, EU and Nigeria declined by 26.7 per cent to 29 billion eruos in 2015, as a result of persistent fall of commodity prices especially oil and gas.
This was disclosed by the EU Ambassador/Head of Delegation to Nigeria, Michel Arrion while addressing a press conference for the upcoming fifth EU-Nigeria business forum in Lagos yesterday.
According to the ambassador, “In 2014, Nigeria’s total trade with the EU, which accounted for 31 per cent of Nigeria’s total trade, stood at €39 billion. EU Investment stock in Nigeria grew from €23.8 billion in 2013 to €25.3 billion in 2014. However, with the fall in oil prices, EU-Nigeria trade declined by 26.7 per cent to €29bn in 2015. Nigerian exports to EU declined by 35 per cent while imports declined by 7 per cent over the period. Unfortunately, about 97 per cent of the exports to the EU are oil and gas.”
He said, to reverse the trend, the EU delegation to Nigeria through the fifth EU-Nigeria business forum, which is scheduled to hold in Lagos on November 10th and 11th, will draw key private sector actors and policy makers in Nigeria to have the opportunity to exchange business ideas with their counterparts from Europe in order to strengthen the EU-Nigeria business relations through identification of opportunities in the global textile value chain; Expose Nigerian SMEs to opportunities in the EU market through the platform of the Enterprise Europe Network and explore the financing options available for funding of the power sector and diversifying the energy mix in the country.
Arrion said this year’s event which is themed: ‘Harnessing Nigeria’s Potential for Economic Growth’ “has been designed to discuss business opportunities and address bottlenecks to investments, particularly in the power and textile sectors, and diversification of the economy, especially through SMEs.”