21 June 2014, Lagos – Nigeria is one of the countries to benefit from the Netherlands’ N15.55 billion (about 700 million Euro) Growth Fund to be launched in July, the Netherlands Minister of Foreign Trade and Development Co-operation, Ms. Lilianne Ploumen, has said.
The decision to include Nigeria in the preferred list of countries came on the heels of the discussions between Nigeria’s Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr. Olusegun Aganga, and his Dutch counterpart, last year.
Aganga confirmed this during the Nigeria-Netherlands Business Forum in Lagos. The Netherlands minister is currently in Nigeria at the head of a delegation of over 20 Dutch businessmen to tie win-win trade and investment relationships. The Dutch Growth Fund will enable Nigerian entrepreneurs and SMEs to form Joint Ventures with their Dutch counterparts, expand their businesses and also invest in critical and thriving sectors.
Aganga said, “Netherlands is one of Nigeria’s largest trading partners. Within the last five years, the value of trade between Nigeria and Netherlands has grown from about $2.5billion to about $10billion. “In addition to the fact that there are so many Dutch companies operating and doing well in Nigeria, there is also the E700m Dutch Growth Fund, which the Government of Netherlands is planning to establish which will be accessed by Nigerians in partnership with Dutch entrepreneurs who can bring in their know-how and innovation. This will make Joint Ventures easier between the two countries.”
He noted, “I want to commend the Dutch Government for this. When I went to the Netherlands about two years ago when the Fund was about to be created, I appealed to the Netherlands Minister of Foreign Trade and Development Co-operation, Hon. Ms. Lilianne Ploumen, that Nigeria should be included as one of the countries that will benefit from the Fund.
“She promised that she would visit Nigeria and give us an update on the Fund. I am delighted that she has fulfilled her promise of visiting Nigeria but the good news is that she has confirmed that Nigeria is among the countries that will benefit from the Fund.”
Speaking during the event, Ploumen said the decision to include Nigeria as one of the benefitting countries was based on Nigeria’s huge economic potentials as the biggest economy in Africa, adding that the Fund would also help to fast-track inclusive economic growth, especially in critical sectors of the Nigerian economy.
She said, “The Dutch Fund will promote the Joint Venture and investment of Dutch companies with their Nigerian counterparts. Nigeria has been included as one of the countries that will benefit from the Fund because we see great investment and growth opportunities in Nigeria.
“Within the next three to four years, we will be investing 700million euros into the fund, which is open for all sectors of the Nigerian economy. The objective is for us to enhance inclusive economic growth in Nigeria.