By Michael Olugbode
The United Arab Emirates Embassy has commenced a series of trade and investment promotion activities in the country aimed at bolstering the bilateral trade and investment volume between Nigeria and the UAE.
The trade promotion initiative which is coordinated in collaboration with the UAE International Investment Council (UAEIIC), the UAE Ministry of Economy and the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment in Nigeria, focuses on attracting key industry stakeholders and investors across all sectors in Nigeria and the UAE in a bid to develop and explore future trade opportunities.
According to a statement from the UAE Embassy in Nigeria, the country has been chosen among the 34 selected countries globally participating in the initiative because of its pivotal position as a top investment market in the West African region and its overall economic influence in Africa.
The UAE Minister of State, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MOFAIC), Sheikh Shakhboot Bin Nahyan Al Nahyan, while describing the strength of the UAE/Nigeria economic relations as enduring, expressed satisfaction with the level of trade, political and cultural partnership that exists between both countries.
He said: “As the ninth largest exporter to Nigeria globally, the UAE continues to see Nigeria, the largest economy in Africa, as an important, trusted partner.
“For decades, both countries have continued to nurture strong bilateral relations, particularly in the areas of trade and investment. To date, we remain Nigeria’s largest trade partner in the Middle East region, accounting for 35 per cent of Nigeria’s total trade with the region.
“Over the past few years, there have been high-level political exchanges amid continuing mutual trust between both countries, which has led to the signing of several key agreements aimed at solidifying overall bilateral relations.
“It is my desire that the existing relationship continues to grow as the global economy gradually recovers from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, and I hope that investors in both the UAE and Nigeria will take advantage of our increasingly close ties to benefit from our strategic geographical location and the opportunities across both conventional and new emerging sectors.
“With non-oil trade between our nations valued at $1.4 billion in 2019, I would like to see this increase and look forward to working towards this in a mutual beneficial manner.”
On his part, the UAE Minister of State for Foreign Trade, Dr. Thani Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, expressed confidence that the UAE/Nigeria ties will continue to grow in areas of trade and investment.
He said: “UAE and Nigeria relationship is witnessing a positive development dominated by cooperation, respect and mutual interests.
“The two countries are enjoying growth rates of bilateral trade while the volume of non-oil trade while the volume of non-oil trade exchange reached 1.45 billion dollars by the end of 2019, as our goal is to increase non-oil bilateral trade based on huge trade and investment potentials and promising opportunities in the two countries’ market and vital sectors.”
The statement said UAE Embassy actively partnered with several Nigerian government ministries, parastatals and the private sector in the UAE and Nigeria in the execution of the trade & Investment promotion media campaign.