01 October 2014, Lagos – The Head of EU Delegation to Nigeria, Amb. Michel Arrion, has said that the EU-Nigeria bilateral trade volume is set to grow to N17 trillion (€80.8 billion) by 2015.
Speaking at the 3rd EU-Nigeria Business Forum in Lagos, tagged ‘Time for Private Sector’, he said that in 2013 alone the total trade volume between the EU nations and Nigeria stood at €40.4 billion (N8.5trillion) with the trade balance tilted in favour of Nigeria.
Also, the EU Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) stock in Nigeria grew from €25.3 billion (N5.3trillion) in 2011 to €27.2 billion (N5.7tr) in 2012, adding that the EU is Nigeria’s most important trading partner.
“Though Nigeria maintains a positive trade balance with the EU and the EU remains the biggest market for both oil and non-oil exports (such as leather cocoa, sesame, etc.), it is imperative to address the EU- Nigeria relationship towards a more diversified composition and a strengthened ECOWAS regional market,” he said.
He stated that through the development cooperation between EU countries and Nigeria, the EU is working closely with the Nigerian authorities to improve its business environment and competitiveness, and to also boost its industrial revolution agenda through support to the reform of the electricity sector and accessing long term financing and tackling social issues like malnutrition.
This, according to him, was what informed the selection of the panel discussions, which centered on Business Climate, Electricity, Health and Nutrition and Access to Finance. He said that the objective is to find a meeting point for the private sector to leverage on the grants provided by the EU to these sectors.
“Though according to UNCTAD’s last available statistics, Nigeria has dropped from the top position in attracting FDI to the continent, inflows still remain significant. To attract more investments into the country, policies should be broad based and long term in outlook and not focused on satisfying individual short term interests, while the courts and rule of law in general protect individuals, assets and contracts,” Arrion stated.
“Nigeria is the largest economy in Africa and the industrial hub of West Africa. Nigeria must see the West African market as an extension of its domestic economy because Nigeria stands to be the greatest beneficiary of an integrated West African market.