The European Union (EU) Ambassador to Nigeria, Ms. Samuela Isopi, has stated that the balance of trade between Nigeria and the EU reached €6 billion in 2021 in favour of Nigeria.
The Ambassador stated this during a press conference to announce its eight edition of the E U business forum scheduled to hold in Lagos.
According to her, the European Union as a Bloc is by far the largest trading partner of Nigeria with about €28 billion in 2021.
She said the oil and gas sector represents the bulk of the trade adding that Europe accounts for 20 per cent of the overall Nigerian trade with the rest of the world.
According to her, “This is an agenda that we are trying to develop further. Discussions are ongoing between the Nigerian government and the European Union on how to develop economic relations.”
She noted that the EU is the main investors to Nigeria, adding that plans are ongoing to quantify and measure EU’s contribution to Nigeria’s economic development in terms of job creation.
She said one of the tools to reducing migration is to create economic opportunities for the youths, pointing out that a country like Nigeria needs to diversify its economy away from oil to promote backward integration in its quest to boost local production.
“Our dialogue with the Nigerian government on migration issues is on course and getting better. We are also expecting a delegation from Brussels to discuss migration. We presented European External Strategy anchored on three pillars, which includes energy efficiency to reduce energy consumption, diversify suppliers and fast-tracking energy transition into renewables. In Africa we are looking at four countries namely Nigeria, Mozambique, Senegal and Angola, “she added.
She however tasked the Nigerian government to address its infrastructure and security challenges to boost gas export to Europe.
“We think there is a huge opportunity for Nigeria. The current international situation is creating a huge opportunity for Nigeria, but we need to address the challenges, “she advised.
Also speaking, the Team Leader, Green and Digital Economy, Ms. Inga Stefanowicz, said under its new programme and budget of the EU for the year 2021-2027, the EU would be working with the private sector to create employment opportunities, growth of SMEs.
“We are also looking for development of agriculture value chains in horticulture, aquaculture and livestock development under the Team Europe initiatives,” she added.
The Trade Counsellor, EU Delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Mr. John Taylor, said the business forum has served as a strong platform for European and Nigerian businesses to engage with the Nigerian authorities towards improving the business environment,
“This year’s event themed, “Nigeria and the New Economy,” will focus on three key sectors, including backward integration policy of the Nigerian government; opportunities to increase gas exports to Europe; and new initiatives in the agricultural sector.
“While these sectors are not new, the potential in them remains largely untapped. During the 8th EU-Nigeria Business Forum, discussions will aim to identify the causes of these hindrances and explore how these opportunities can be unlocked for the mutual benefit of Nigeria and Europe,” he stressed.