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UK harps on technology in promoting bilateral relations post-COVID-19

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Prime Minister to host global vaccine submit as an effort to curb the spread

United Kingdom has emphasised the role of technology in enhancing bilateral relations within Nigeria and Britain, stressing that benefits would ensue from proper management of the sector.  
 
This was disclosed at the virtual Nigerian-British Chamber of Commerce (NBCC) webinar themed ‘Nigeria-Britain Bilateral Relationship Post Covid-19’.

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Senior Vice-Chairman Africa, Standard Chartered Bank, Bola Adesola explained that COVID 19 presents an unprecedented disruption to the global economy and world trade, as production and consumption have declined across the globe. 
 
According to her, the world trade organisation (WTO) predicts that the pandemic will cause a double-digit decline in trade volumes across every sector and region in the world in 2020.

Speaking, British Deputy High Commissioner to Nigeria, Harriet Thompson, noted that issues around moving goods into the ports, around the country, forex, bureaucracy, are major challenges the UK face in doing business with Nigeria.

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She, however, applauded the commitment from the federal government of Nigeria on its resolve to the IMF around removing the fuel subsidy, tackling the forex regime, and around the power sector. 
  
She added that Britain is providing technical assistance and support innovation and digital healthcare. “We have various programmes that are supporting infrastructure, agriculture, markets, skills, the tech sector, Thompson said.
 
Chairman, NBCC Trade Mission Committee, Bimbo Olashore, noted that from the Nigerian perspective, there has been an infrastructure and business challenge before COVID-19 pandemic.
 
He, however, said that the harmonisation of the exchange rate would enhance ease of doing business.
 
“Over the past, we have been talking about our budgetary allocation to health and education, all of a sudden COVID has now made that expedient for us to work on.  And for sure that kind of investment will continue,” he added.

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Meanwhile, in an effort to prevent diseases among children and stop the spread of coronavirus, the United Kingdom Prime Minister, Boris Johnson has pledged to host a Global Vaccine Summit, bringing together leaders from around the world at a virtual event to pledge their support to Gavi. 
   
According to the Press and Public Affairs Officer, British Deputy High Commission, Lagos, Ndidiamaka Eze, the Global Vaccine Summit which will be held on 4 June 2020, is aimed to raise at least US$7.4 billion to help Gavi save up to eight million lives. 
   
In a statement, Eze said: “As hosts, the UK is continuing its global leadership on tackling preventable deaths and stopping the spread of coronavirus.  This builds on our recent role as co-lead for the Global Coronavirus Response Initiative, with Japan, Germany, France, Canada, Norway, Italy, Spain, Saudi Arabia and the European Commission, which successfully raised 7.4 billion euros toward vaccines, tests and treatment to tackle the virus at the Coronavirus Global Response International Pledging Conference on 4 May.

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“The UK is collaborating with our international partners on the global effort to find a vaccine as soon as possible and ensure it’s available across the world, including in Nigeria.  We are working closely with industry and the Bioindustry Association to accelerate vaccine development and manufacturing in the UK, so that when a vaccine is available, it can be made quickly at scale. We are now calling on other governments to step up, follow our lead and make commitments to fund fully Gavi’s vital mission for the next five years.
   
“The UK is proud to be Gavi’s leading donor, and on 29 April the International Development Secretary pledged the equivalent of £330 million a year over the next five years from the aid budget to protect 75 million children from preventable diseases. Gavi is a crucial partner in the fight against infectious diseases globally, including coronavirus.  With the support of UK Aid, Gavi has immunised over 760 million children in the world’s poorest countries, saving more than 13 million lives. Between 2000 and 2023 Gavi has committed over 3 billion US dollars alone to Nigeria to combat diseases like Measles, Meningitis and Yellow Fever.

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