Team Sweden, the umbrella body for all Sweden government agencies, boards and companies currently working on export promotion initiatives for Swedish businesses, recently paid a visit to Nigeria, where it stressed the need for proper business regulatory framework in Nigeria that will enhance trade relations between Nigeria and Sweden.
During the three – day visit, Team Sweden delegation, led by the Swedish Minister for Trade and EU Affairs, Mrs. Ann Linde, was received in Abuja by the Minister of Communications, Adebayo Shittu, before visiting Lagos, where the team was equally received by the Lagos State Governor, Akinwumi Ambode, as well as chief executives of business organisations.
Although the visit was meant to discuss ways of strengthening the long-standing business relationships between both countries, the delegation called for proper business regulatory framework in Nigeria to further boost trade relations.
Addressing technology journalists during the visit, the team explained that the aim of the delegation was to highlight business opportunities in Nigeria for Swedish companies, designed to develop sustainable and smart societies, using Swedish innovations in Information and Communications Technology (ICT), Transport, Energy, Health, Agriculture and Finance.
“We need better regulatory framework for Nigeria and Sweden in order for both countries to have better and transparent business relationship. We came with two agencies from Sweden that are prepared to offer business financing, but we need a better regulatory framework that will foster business relationship between both countries,” Linde said.
According to her, Sweden and Nigeria had a long-standing business relationship, and there is need to strengthen the business relationship between both countries.
Nigeria is a top priority country for Swedish trade and Sweden recognises Nigeria as a key partner in Africa and we are happy to officially inaugurate the Swedish Honourary Consulate in Lagos during this visit that will provide extensive knowledge in the areas of smart cities, energy, transportation, healthcare, ICT, agriculture, and finance.
Sweden ranks as one of the world most digitalised countries and one of the most innovative economies of the world. We are well known as ICT nation with a well-structured infrastructure with advance services and advance users. We have high ambition for quality and environmental standards, and we are ready to share all that experience with Nigeria, Linde said.
She admitted that Sweden has a trade deficit with Nigeria trade and investment because her country does more of export to Nigeria than import from Nigeria. She said the visit will offer her country the opportunity of finding better ways to balance the trade relation between both countries.
Head of Trade Promotions, African Department Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Bengt Carlsson, who was part of the delegation, said the trade volume between both countries is worth over 5.9 billion SEK, making Nigeria, Sweden’s second largest export market in sub-Saharan Africa. “Swedish businesses are keen to further support the development of Nigeria in infrastructure, including public transportation and power networks, and bringing environmentally friendly relations, skills transfer, corporate social responsibility, thus contributing to a sustainable development and growth of Nigeria,” Caslsson said.
Linde however said that the Swedish export credit system is generally considered as both effective and professional. This, she said, is so because our Swedish Export Credit System (SEK) offers long term funding as well as internationally attractive interest rates. We also have the Export Credit Guarantee Board that offers guarantees, which take over most of the risks from the buyer and its bank. It has flexible offers and interest rates that could last for as long as 10 years. So it depends on the company to maintain the existing rates or switch over to the current rate. As a country we have ‘Triple A’ rating and that makes it safe to do business with the Swedish government.
Team Sweden, in collaboration with the Swedish Export Credit Guarantee Board and the Swedish Export Credit Corporation, can provide unique and competitive financing solutions to relevant projects in the Nigerian context, and we are convinced that the delegation visit will provide concrete results for both countries, according to another delegate, Mrs. Inger Ultvedt.
Managing Director, Ericsson Nigeria, Mr. Johan Jemdahl, who manages one of the biggest Swedish businesses in Nigeria, said Ericsson remained the driving force behind the Networked Society, and a world leader in communications technology and services. “Our long-term relationships with every major telecoms operator in Nigeria, allows people, business and society to fulfill their potential and create a more sustainable future,” Jemdahl said.
Sweden is the highest ranked country globally in terms of connectivity, digital economy and it has a strong tradition in innovation in different sectors of the economy. The county is conceived as one of the most advanced post-industrialised economies and Swedish companies are perceived as innovative, reliable and good business partners.