Speaking at the on going Belgian Economic Mission to Nigeria being hosted by the Nigeria-Belgian Chamber of Commerce in Lagos, Verheyen stated that a total of 60 Belgium companies which are part of a Belgian Investment and Trade mission are in Nigeria with plans to invest in the country.
He also affirmed that his country is the third largest European exporter to Nigeria with a total export figure of almost two billion euros a year.
The interest of the 60 companies led by the President of the Port of Antwerp, Sir Marc Van Peel, according to Verheyen, was stimulated by the success of the just-concluded World Economic Forum on Africa held in Abuja.
“Trade between Belgium and Nigeria is more important than most people know. Our country is the third largest European exporter to Nigeria with a total export figure of almost two billion euros a year, adding that “ the trade mission is aimed at promoting investment and trade between both countries.”
Said he, “But it is time for diversification and for a more sustainable structure of our trade. Which is why the Belgian companies wishing to invest in the country cut across energy, telecommunications, transport, postal service, entertainment, engineering and agriculture sectors.
“Belgium, through the Antwerp port, is one of the major European exporters to Nigeria and we export more than two billion Euro worth of goods annually and this trade mission will be a win-win situation. It is vital for Nigerian companies to discover the possibilities of Antwerp as an import hub for the nation,” he said.
On her part, the Managing Trustee, Nigeria Belgian Commercial Information and Documentation Centre, Paulette Van-Trier, said that the trade mission would benefit both countries.
“60 multinational companies from Belgium are here to explore investment opportunities in Nigeria. The power sector, transport, ports, construction, dredging, agro industry, health, logistics etc, are among sectors that would enjoy collaborations with Belgium multinationals.” Paulette said.
According to her, “The Belgian multinationals are holding business talks with prospective Nigeria partners during the event.” adding that “The renewed interest in Nigeria is buoyed by the robust economic growth figures over the years and the fact that Nigeria is now the largest economy in Africa with huge potentials.
Also speaking, the Nigeria Ambassador to Belgium, Mr. Felix Awanbor, noted that Nigeria is in the process of a bilateral trade and investment enhancement with Belgium, in a bid to open up more areas of investment in the Nigerian agricultural and manufacturing sector.”
*Dotun Ibiwoye, Prisca Sam-Duru, & Vera Anyagafu – Vanguard