Walter Ukaegbu, Abuja
Nigeria and the United Kingdom have agreed to fast-track key regulation to deepen the insurance market, expand the digital economy and explore Naira-denominated financial instruments in collaboration with the City of London.
Both countries are also to accelerate progress on franchise regulation to facilitate British brands positioning and investments that deliver sustainable new jobs in Nigeria.
These are part of the communique signed at the First Economic Development Forum (EDF) of both countries in Abuja yesterday by the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr. Okechukwu Enelamah and Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, who led the UK delegation.
The forum was launched in August 2018 by President Muhammadu Buhari and Prime Minister Theresa May as a platform to foster economic and development ties between Nigeria and the United Kingdom. Yesterday’s event was to take stock of progress against the joint commitments made and celebrate the successes achieved so far.
Other areas agreed in the communique include the acknowledgement of: sustained improvements in the efficiency of Nigeria’s international airports, the government of the United Kingdom’s ability to increase airfreight capacity of its national carriers, and enable Nigeria’s non-oil exporters to reach third market destinations via London.
This joint effort supports Nigeria’s export diversification drive, pending critical trade facilitation improvements in the Nigerian ports. Extensive work to consult the Nigerian and British business community and identify critical joint work streams and key actions needed to boost bilateral trade and investment have already begun.
It also includes the commitment of UK to provide more technical assistance in support of Nigeria’s efforts to diversify exports, attract investment and create jobs by improving the business environment;
The need for opportunities to showcase high quality Nigerian and British goods and services in their respective markets, and for more Nigerian exports to comply with global standards for better bilateral trade and investment.
Others are Nigeria’s commitment to continue the reforms and improvements in making the country’s operating environment conducive for businesses and investments; and collaboration to achieve a successful Africa Investment Summit in the United Kingdom in 2020 and to use the opportunity to present a strong pipeline of investable projects in Nigeria that seek partnership with British investors.
Towards this end, senior ministers shall meet in London before the end of this year for the second meeting of the EDF as an important step towards an Africa Investment Summit to create the conditions for more British investment in Nigeria, including in manufacturing and services.