The European Union (EU) said it would Є150 billion to Nigeria and other African countries to promote sustainable development in the continent.
The fund, which will run for a period of four years beginning in 2027, will be executed through the Global Gateway initiative.
The Global Gateway initiative aims to enhance connectivity, promote sustainable development, and strengthen economic ties between the EU and its partner countries.
Speaking at the official launch of the initiative on Thursday in Abuja, the EU Commissioner for International Partnerships, Jutta Urpilainen, said through the initiative, the Union will support enhanced infrastructure connectivity, transport, energy, and digital networks, agriculture, economic growth, health and education, promote sustainable development and environmental protection, and foster cooperation and partnerships with Nigeria and other partner countries.
She said: “We are living in an increasingly fragmented world. The war that Russia started against Ukraine last year; the military takeover in Niger in July; and the escalation in the Israel-Palestine conflict are just stark reminders of that.
“In such a world, the Global Gateway strategy is our positive offer to build resilient connections in the world through strategic partnerships to jointly address the challenges of our times from fighting climate change to improving health systems.
“Together, we intend to mobilize Є300 billion in investments by the year 2027, half of them for Africa. For Africa, it is Є150 billion by the year 2027.
Investments in Nigeria
When it comes to Nigeria; Urpilainen said the country features prominently in the Global Gateway investment package.
The investments are spread across Agriculture €42million; Energy €37million; Health €45million; Digital €55million; Education €45million; and Social Protection €46million.
She also informed that the EU is ready to support the 5G rollout in Nigeria, in efforts to boost the nation’s digital economy and commit financial resources to support the energy sector including the setting up of mini-grids and small hydropower plants for productive and public purposes, as well as provide potential loans to support Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the digital and print sectors.
“Last year, we launched a digital economic package for Nigeria. With EU and European Investment Banks, investments worth Є820 million, it is a lot of money.
“We are already supporting the roll out of digital IDs nationwide, and mobile network expansion with MTN in Lagos and other states.
“We are also about to launch the construction of a line between Katsina and Daura twin lines, and we are proposing to reinforce the Nigeria-Benin interconnection of the framework of the West African power pole.”
“Education is the most transformative investment one can make, and I am very glad to launch the empowerment in Northwestern Nigeria Project. I think this project is a tangible sign of our cooperation with the Government to promote quality basic education in the northern regions.
“Nigeria is also a major beneficiary of the student mobility and higher education cooperation project under Erasmus+. I was looking at the figures, last year, over 2,020 students from Nigeria were granted scholarships for studying in the EU.
“Global Gateway reinforces the EU-Nigeria partnership. It really brings opportunities to all. We want to continue working together with you to take our partnership to a higher level of shared prosperity. We will do that together with the Government, Member States, Civil Society Organizations, as well as with the business community.”
The EU will support enhanced infrastructure connectivity, transport, energy, and digital networks, agriculture, economic growth, health and education, promote sustainable development and environmental protection, and foster cooperation and partnerships with Nigeria and other partner countries.
Minister of Communication, Innovation and Digital Economy, Bosun Tijani, said the Global Gateway initiative aligns with President Bola Tinubu’s Renewed Hope agenda, aimed at achieving collective regional and global prosperity.
He said: “Africa’s relationship with Europe has deep historical roots, and has been built on years of shared values, collaboration, and mutual respect. While we enjoy geographical proximity, we also have increasingly intertwined cultures, and more importantly, a shared future.
“As we seek a better future together, we can only fully actualize and realize this dream by leveraging the ties that we have always had.
“We can build a more resilient world. If we empower and enable Africa to leverage its resources to contribute to the world while strengthening its local economies.
“On the other hand, working together with the EU gives us the opportunity to leverage its structure and historical resources to do more for the world, specifically for Africa.
“For us in the Ministry of Communication, Innovation and Digital Economy, our role takes on further significance as we have a portfolio that will be central to all we want to achieve under the Global Gateway programme.
“Nigeria is a country that is extremely blessed; not only are we blessed with natural resources that can provide opportunities for us to help meet global challenges, and food security, but we are also blessed with a very young, agile population.
“As a continent, Africa is blessed with a population of about 40 per cent of young people under the age of 25, which is extremely exciting. Nigeria in particular is blessed with about 60 per cent of our population being under the age of 25. This population of young people are digital natives.
“The investment of our government is providing opportunities for these young people to participate in the global economy. While doing that, we are conscious of the fact that these resources are not only for the development of Nigeria but the development of the world as a whole.”