Thursday, September 06, 2018 6.45PM / Proshare WebTV
As part of activities to boost its trade relations with strategic economies in the globe, Nigeria has this year gone into a new level of bi-lateral relations that covers key areas like security, trade and the economy.
Bi-lateral relations are generally driven for economic purposes and must be seen to be mutually beneficial to the two (2) countries involved.
To further strengthen Bi-lateral relations, nations go into a memorandum of understanding signed to affirm an agreement or partnership, that is geared towards advancing their interests.
It is on this basis that we explore the recent high-level discussions and MOUs Nigeria has signed with the United Kingdom, Germany and China.
British Prime Minister Theresa May recently visited Nigeria, where she met with President Muhammadu Buhari and signed MOUs covering trade and security.
Nigeria and Britain have had a long-standing economic relations that spans decades, and in the wake of the Brexit plans of the UK to exit the European economic zone it was important to reinforce the bi-lateral relations.
President Muhammadu Buhari and Prime Minister Theresa May witnessed the signing of the Defence and Security partnership by Mr Babagana Moguno(National Security Adviser, Nigeria) and Mr Christian Turner (Deputy National Security Adviser, United Kingdom).
This new level of agreement comes at a critical time Nigeria seeks to fortify its security operations, tackling insurgency in the North-East, and other forms of related traits of terrorism concerns like Banditry(North-West) and recurring cases of wide-spread killings in the North-Central and other regions of the country.
The agreement will provide an opportunity for the Nigerian Military to access equipment and effective training to carry out their security operations.
It is also noteworthy that the Prime Minister of United Kingdom visited the FMDQ securities Nigeria’s foremost debt capital, foreign exchange and derivations over-the-counter securities exchange in Lagos.
At the FMDQ she interacted with notable business leaders like Alhaji Aliko Dangote, Mr Tony.O. Elumelu, Mr Femi Otedola, amongst others to discuss cross-border opportunities in finance, fintech and infrastructure.
This brought a lot of possibilities of strengthening partnerships between London the Global financial market capital and Lagos West Africa’s economic capital.
The UK and Nigeria signed an MOU through a UK-Africa Fintech partnership of 2million pounds which will support Nigerian innovators and tech players.
Also, the UK and Nigeria signed an MOU valued at 750m pounds that will provide financing for Nigerian buying British products , through the UK Export Finance platform.
It also featured the launch of a 12-month skill-sharing program between lawyers from UK and Nigeria , designed to build capacity for the Nigerian legal industry.
A major takeaway is that Nigeria stands to gain a lot from UK investments, that can transform its budding Fintech ecosystem and in the larger scale; the digital economy.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel during her recent visit to Nigeria, met with President Muhammadu Buhari and in the course of the visit some strategic agreements were signed covering agriculture and commerce.
Germany Europe’s economic powerhouse and global industrial giant provides a unique opportunity for Nigeria to scale its Manufacturing and Agriculture sectors which in the last released Q2,2018 GDP report recorded slow growth.
The first MOU signed was between the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture, NACCIMA and the German-African Business Association.
Second MOU was between the Nigerian Incentive Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending and Petkus GmbH, a company that specialises in post-harvest agricultural value chain.
An interesting part of the Nigeria-German engagement was the signing of an agreement that will see the development of the Volkswagen Vehicle Service network in the country.
This is expected to transform the automotive industry, create jobs and achieve socio-economic inclusion.
From the agreements with Germany, Nigeria seeks to drive robust enterprise development, its Agric value chain and Manufacturing sector.
President Muhammadu Buhari this week led a high-powered delegation of cabinet ministers and senior government officials to China Asia’s economic force, to attend the just concluded 7th Forum for Africa and China Cooperation Summit, FOCAC and also hold key bi-lateral meetings with his Chinese counterpart President Xi Jinping.
Nigeria signed several key agreements with the Oriental giant that covered ICT, Infrastructure, Industrialization, Energy amongst others.
The first major MOU signed with China was the “One Belt One Road” initiative which is geared towards connecting 65 countries globally, through infrastructure with participation of more than 70 countries from Asia, Africa and Europe.
It is expected to boost the existing infrastructure agreements between both countries and spur economic development in Nigeria.
A second agreement signed between Nigeria and China was the $328m concession funding for the Nigerian Infrastructure and Communication Technology Backbone between Galaxy technologies(Nigeria) and Huawei Technologies(China).
The MOU for the NICTIB Phase II will boost Nigeria’s ICT infrastructure which will deepen the digital economic system.
Third key MOU signed was the understanding that will attract a $200m investments from Ruyi Group, that will revitalize the special economic zones in the country, focused on textile manufacturing and agriculture.
In the energy space the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC signed an agreement with a Chinese Consortia to build biofuels complexes across the country.
A major takeaway from the Nigeria-China bi-lateral relations is the expected intervention from a Chinese Consortium that is expected to construct the historic 3,050mw Mambilla Hydro-electric Power Plant.
The project is expected to commence from 2019 and should boost the Nigerian power infrastructure, when completed.