By Emmanuel Elebeke
ABUJA – 15-10-21: The UK has urged Nigeria to increase increase Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in non-oil sectors in the post-COVID era.
The Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to Nigeria, Helen Grant gave the advice during the 6th bi-annual sitting of the United Kingdom-Nigeria Economic Development Forum (EDF) held virtually with Nigeria’s Minister of Industry Trade and Investment, Mr. Adeniyi Adebayo on Friday.
She said the need to increase Nigeria’s FDI in the post-Covid ear became imperative for restoration of the economy on part of growth and reiterated the commitment of UK government to a partnership based on mutual economic benefit of both countries.
The meeting was joined by Her Majesty’s Acting Trade Commissioner for Africa, Alastair Long, the Comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs Service, Col. Hameed Ibrahim Ali (Rtd) and other senior government representatives from Nigeria and the UK.
The agenda outlined opportunities for a wider UK-Nigeria partnership as discussions centred on the state of bilateral trade; challenges and priorities ahead; opportunities to ‘build back better’ from COVID-19; the Nigeria Government’s preparations to attend the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26), and plans to implement the revised Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).
Confirming the strategic importance of the economic development forum, both the UK and Nigeria representatives agreed that in the post-COVID era, there is a need to increase Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in non-oil sectors in Nigeria.
They welcomed the continued efforts to encourage UK trade and investment into Nigeria resulting in a number of commercial wins for UK companies, including a £10.56m deal in the healthcare sector as part of a new build hospital project, and others in the pipeline (including more than £60m of potential FDI in the renewable energy sector.
UK Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to Nigeria said: “I am delighted to have had the opportunity to speak with Nigerian representatives as we deepen our trade relationship with a key partner for us in Africa. The Economic Development Forum remains crucial to our efforts to address barriers to bilateral trade and investment between our two countries. It is good to have made progress on financial services and the legal sector, which are both great strengths of the UK.”
In a presentation to mark the upcoming launch of its entrepreneurship Hub in Nigeria, the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) Generate team said the objective is to contribute to the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Nigeria through corporate and start-up programmes. The Hub, he said will consist of a physical co-working space as well as several entrepreneurship programmes.
The recent launch of the UK’s Skills for Prosperity programme, in partnership with Industrial Training Fund (ITF), to support formal apprenticeship and traineeship routes that enable the private sector to access a skilled workforce and offer meaningful employment to young people in Lagos and Kaduna was also acknowledged.
In his own remarks, Nigeria’s Minister of Industry Trade and Investment, Mr. Adeniyi Adebayo said: “I am pleased to herald the 6th Edition of the U.K-Nigeria Economic Development Forum. Engagements such as these are crucial in; promoting bilateral trade and investment; implementing strategic initiatives; and appraising our current economic and trade relationship. This platform will also provide an opportunity for us to take stock of progress made on our commitments at previous EDFs, and enable us work together to ensure that our bilateral agreements are properly implemented and beneficial to both parties.”