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It’s time to raise Nigeria-UAE non-oil trade value above $1.4billion – Envoy

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The United Arab Emirates (UAE) Minister of State, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MOFAIC), Sheikh Shakhboot Bin Nahyan Al Nahyan has called on investors in both the UAE and Nigeria to take advantage of the close ties between both countries to benefit from the strategic geographical location and the opportunities across both conventional and new emerging sectors.

According to Al Nahyan, with non-oil trade between both nations valued at $1.4billion in 2019, it is pertinent to work out modalities to see the figure increasing, adding that the UAE government is working towards it in a mutual beneficial manner.

While describing the strength of the UAE/Nigeria economic relations as enduring, he expressed satisfaction with the level of trade, political and cultural partnership that exists between both countries.

“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”

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Al Nahyan informed stakeholders that the Embassy has commenced a series of trade and investment promotion activities aimed at bolstering the bilateral trade and investment volume between Nigeria and the UAE.

He explained that 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.

In his remarks, The UAE Minister of State for Foreign Trade, Dr. Thani Ahmed Al Zeyoudi said he was confident that the UAE/Nigeria ties will continue to grow in areas of trade and investment.

“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.”

Speaking, Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Niyi Adebayo reaffirmed Nigeria’s readiness to make UAE a top destination for exports because of its strategic position in the middle east region.

He said “Moving forward we hope to further strengthen our economic ties for economic development with common interest for both countries. We reaffirm Nigeria’s readiness to make UAE on of our preferred leading export markets because of her positioning as a strategic global and regional trade and investment hub.”

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Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Arch Olamilekan Adegbite said “Trade between Nigeria and UAE has been on for a long time, albeit informally. I look forward to this collaboration to enhance what has been and to open up new vistas.”

Further reiterating the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development’s willingness to partner in this initiative, The Nigerian Minister of State, Mines and Steel Development Dr. Uchechukwu Ogah said “I envisage this platform would further strengthen the robust trade and investment relationship amongst our countries and avail Nigeria the opportunity to showcase its efforts towards economic diversification particularly in the development of its solid minerals sector.”

On his part, Minster of State for Finance, Budget and National Planning, Prince Clem Agba stated that “Nigeria and the UAE have enjoyed robust bilateral relations over the last decade and we are always willing to explore new windows of opportunities to increase mutual trade and investments with our foreign counterparts, including the UAE. We look forward to further enhance bilateral relations with the UAE across various sectors of the economy in a bid to achieve mutual growth and development.”

Speaking on the huge trade prospects between the UAE and Nigeria, The President, Dangote Group Alhaji Aliko Dangote said, “One of the important takeaways from the unprecedented times we are in globally, is the need to identify further areas of cooperation and foster stronger partnerships. Expanding business networks and opportunities in Nigeria and in the UAE would foretell growth prospects for the economic good of both regions, and it is my belief that efforts in exploring and forging new human ties are ultimately worthy and rewarding endeavors. For me, Africa is the best kept secret for any business enterprise, and its vast potential exists also for strong economic bilateral relations.”

The UAE Ambassador to Nigeria, Dr. Fahad Altaffaq underscored the need for both countries to jointly expand the spectrum of trade activities in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“While approaching the 40th anniversary of UAE-Nigeria relations which began in 1982, we plan to continue providing platforms where UAE and Nigerian businesses can connect to identify ventures and opportunities particularly in emerging sectors such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), FinTech and Space Exploration.

The UAE is a top global investment hub and I encourage Nigerian investors to take advantage of the wide trade and investment opportunities.”

“Nigeria remains an important partner to UAE and with key economic agreements signed in 2016 and its confirmed participation at the auspicious Expo 2020 Dubai, our overarching focus is to create sustainable economies beyond the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and encourage more trade and investment opportunities that will improve our non-oil trade volume which is around at $1.4 billion in 2019.”

The Nigerian Ambassador to the UAE, Mohammed Dansanta Rimi expressed Nigeria’s keenness to intensify economic cooperation with the UAE.

“Relations between Nigeria and the UAE have come a long way with impressive outcomes, after years of positive engagements in diverse areas of mutual interests and shared accomplishments between the two countries. Structure required for constructive and beneficial engagements have been laid through the signing of some important bilateral agreements between Nigeria and the UAE. The signed MOU between our two countries on the establishment of joint Commission for cooperation will stimulate more engagements with its multi-sectoral nature.”

“With our great potentials in agriculture/agribusiness, commerce, trade, mining, oil and gas etc. Nigeria presents a fertile ground for investments in vast fields including infrastructural Development (Road, Railways, Power) Mass Housing, Manufacturing, Digital/Artificial Intelligence and a host of others.

Nigeria will actively participate at the upcoming EXPO 2020 with a view to achieving more in the areas of trade and investments as well as consolidating the existing cordial relations between our two countries. I wish to call on the business communities of our two countries to take full advantage of the investment opportunities being provided by this platform.”

The Secretary General of the UAE International Investment Council (UAEIIC), Jamal Saif Al Jarwan noted that “The UAE International Investment Council (UAEIIC) is eagerly looking forward to explore areas of economic, trade and investments cooperation in the African continent, which represents a promising market and potential business opportunities for the UAE community.”

“The UAE is considered the second largest investor in Africa from the Middle East region and the Republic of Nigeria is considered one of those destinations to which we pay attention to. With the agreement already signed between the two countries going into effect, the two countries will be able to work closely towards exploring the development of mutual opportunities in sectors of priority for both countries.”

The Consul-General of the UAE in Lagos, H.E Dr. Abdulla Almandoos stated that “Today we laud the progression in the bilateral relations between the UAE and Nigeria for nearly 40 years. In 2019 the Consulate General commenced its operations in Lagos State- the business hub of Nigeria- generating 50% of Nigeria’s non-oil GDP and also 65% of its economic and industrial activities.

Lagos is also ranked as having the biggest and busiest port in West Africa. Our non-oil trade was estimated at $1.45 billion in 2019 reflecting the efficient execution of economic and trade strategies between both countries. We seek to continue collaborating with Nigeria in various trade investment sectors.”

Businesses and Investors in the UAE and Nigeria are encouraged to take advantage of the huge market opportunities abound during the UAE Trade and Investment Promotion Campaign to improve bilateral trade engagements between both countries for economic growth.

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