16 September 2014, Abuja – The Federal Government and Nigeria’s ambassadors across the Asian countries held a strategic meeting in New Delhi, India, for the first time in over 50 years and resolved to work on doubling the volume of trade between Nigeria and Asia to over $80billion (N13.2trillion ) within two years.
They also brainstorm on a strategic synergy aimed at further improving the trade and investment ties with the 15 countries.
The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr. Olusegun Aganga, who briefed journalists at the end of the two-day meeting weekend, stated that the Ministry and the ambassadors resolved to work on doubling the volume of trade between Nigeria and Asia to over $80bn (N13.2trn) within two years.
Currently, trade volume between Nigeria and 15 Asian countries stands in excess of $40billion (N6.62 trillion). India is currently Nigeria’s largest trading partner with a trade volume of about N2.95trillion, followed by China (N2.143trillion). Trade volume between Nigeria and Australia stands at N534.3 billion; Singapore (N293.4billion); Indonesia (272.8billion); Japan (N263.5billion); and Bangladesh (N84.5billion), among others.
Fourteen ambassadors, including the Ambassadors of Nigeria to India, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines, North Korea, Vietnam, China, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Guangzou and Pakistan, attended the meeting.
Key agencies of the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, such as the Nigerian Export Processing Zones Authority, Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission, National Automotive Council, and the Oil and Gas Free Zone Authority, were also at the roundtable.
Aganga said the meeting was necessitated by the emergence of Asia as Nigeria’s major trading and investment partner, adding that there was an urgent need to maintain Nigeria’s current position as the preferred investment destination in Africa and globally.
The meeting also opened up fresh investment commitments by major Indian companies, who were not yet present in Nigeria.
The minister said, “Why is this important meeting happening in India, some may ask? Why not in one of the western nations with whom Nigeria traditionally had strong trading ties? The reason is that over the last decade, there has been a shift in the dynamics of how Nigeria does business globally. We have seen our nation move from a nation historically joined at the hips with the western world to one which is more and more eastward facing.