By Victoria Ojeme
ABUJA- Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, on Monday stressed the need to strengthen the bilateral relations between Nigeria and Tunisia especially in the areas of trade, economy and technology.
Onyeama made the call in Abuja in his remarks at a business forum preceding Nigeria-Tunis Joint Ministerial Commission.
The minister said that the two-day meeting marked another milestone in the bilateral relations between Nigeria and Tunisia
“We appreciate the impressive development that had taken place in Tunisia which had really catapulted the country to the level mid income country.
“In all categories Tunisia is showing itself to be a leading country in the world today in the ICT, medical and agriculture among others, it has a made tremendous stride.
“That is why we are particularly happy in strengthening the bilateral relations between the two countries,” he said.
He said that the president of the two countries had a high regard with each other which he said was a good basis to take the relations to a new level.
This according to him is in the area of trade and economic relations and other areas as well.
He said that the ongoing Joint Ministerial Commission between Nigeria and Tunisia at the ministry would identify various sectors in which level of cooperation could be increased.
He said that the business forum would further enhance the relations between the two countries.
“The era of hostility in global trade has long gone we have fought it hard, we know that might not be always the case as we have some push back against economic and trade cooperation.
“We do hope that internationally that good sense will prevail and that the promotion of free trade and putting down and reducing barriers and tariff and that is still the norm,” he said
He expressed the hope that there would not be a return to the era of protectionism.
He said that the meeting between Nigeria and Tunisia was a demonstration that that Africa is on the move and would promote freer trade in the continent.
“The meeting has presented wonderful opportunity for both countries, our business sectors of private sectors will drive the growth of both countries
“The governments will have to put in place the enabling environment that is essentially because the private sector is the engine of growth of the economy,” onyeama said.
The Tunisian Minister f Foreign Affairs, Mr Khemaise Jhinaoui expressed the belief that the discussion at the meeting would identify new area of common interest mainly in investment and science and technology.
He said that the agreement to be signed later would enhance the relationship between the two countries especially in the area of business and technology.
He noted with the concern that the relations between Nigeria and Tunisia were still below expectation.
“We have already existing relations but the relations is still below expectation currently the trade pattern does not reflect their long term relations,” he said .