- EU Restates Commitment to Improving Trade with Nigeria
The new European Union Ambassador to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Mr. Ketil Karlsen, has stated that the mutual trade partnership between Nigeria and the EU would be sustained for the benefit of both countries.
Karlsen said this in Lagos at the launch of the 6th and 2017 edition of the EU-Nigeria Business Forum, with the theme: ‘Youth as Engine of Broad-Based Economic Transformation’. He disclosed that the export trade volume from Nigeria to Europe in 2016 amounted to 20 billion euros. This, he said represented 39% of Nigeria’s export for that year.
“The trade partnership between the European Union and Nigeria is already very significant. We are each other’s biggest trade partner in this part of the world,” Karlsen said.
He said this year’s forum was focussed on youths and women and how the ICT industry and agriculture can provide jobs to many Nigerians with the support of European investors, stressing which he said was one of the main priorities in the country.
Furthermore, he stated that in the coming years, EU and Nigeria would have many issues to discuss to consolidate their mutual relation.
“How good to have a conducive environment for European investment such as through economic partnership agreement (EPA), which is one of the key priorities.
“How good we could get in dialogue about issues relating to migration and mobility; given the real opportunities for work and employment and jobs for young Nigerians in Nigeria.
“And of course we want to continue working with Nigeria as the like-minded partner, the strong, regional, international and global partner that Nigeria is for the European Union,” he remarked.
However, he noted that for Nigeria to attract more foreign investors, the country needs to have strong will to fight corruption.
“It needs to ensure there is transparency; having the legal certainties that the system will address and not live out impunity and corruption issues – something that reassures international investors that they can safely invest their money in a country like Nigeria.”
In his keynote address, Minister of Communication, Mr Adebayo Shitu, said the theme of the forum was apt and timely, stressing that it brought attention to a segment of the Nigerian population that should have been increasingly contributing to the economy. He said over $60 billion had been invested in the ICT sector since year 2001.