Nigeria, UK sign landmark economic partnership

UK and Nigeria flags

By Tochukwu Bliss, Abuja

Nigeria and the United Kingdom (UK), Tuesday, signed a partnership to boost trade and investment and unlock new opportunities for businesses in the two countries. 

The Enhanced Trade and Investment Partnership (ETIP) is said to be the first the UK has signed with an African country and is designed to grow the UK and Nigeria’s already thriving trading relationship, which totalled £7 billion in the year to September 2023. 

A statement posted on the UK Government’s website, said: “The partnership will create opportunities across a breadth of sectors crucial to both economies, such as financial and legal services.  

“It will see the UK and Nigeria’s shared aspiration to facilitate each other’s lawyers practising foreign and international law in each other’s jurisdictions – a step which could significantly enhance legal services collaboration and exports. 

“It will also pave the way for further collaboration in the film and media industry and encourage world-leading UK education providers to offer high quality education in Nigeria.”

Nigeria is Africa’s biggest economy and one of the world’s fastest growing economies – predicted to be in the top 20 by GDP by 2035.

It is also predicted by the UN to nearly double its population to over 370 million people by 2050.

Business and Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch said: 

This partnership with Nigeria – the UK’s first with an African country – will allow us to work together and seize the opportunities that lie ahead. 

Nigeria has one of the fastest growing economies in the world. UK businesses have already seen huge success here and I look forward to seeing how we continue to grow this relationship.

Business and Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch signed the ETIP alongside Nigerian Trade Minister Doris Uzoka-Anite in Abuja.  

While in Nigeria she is also visiting the site of a new Charterhouse school, the first UK independent school in West Africa, and meeting with the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria and the Nigerian Finance Minister to unblock trade barriers facing UK businesses. 

Ms Uzoka-Anite said: “The UK is one of our long-standing strategic partners with whom we share strong ties, and it gladdens me that this relationship is set to deepen as we sign the Enhanced Trade and Investment Partnership. 

“This partnership will see Nigeria-UK relations move beyond one of shared history and strong ties to one of shared economic prosperity.

From increasing market access and supporting our vibrant businesses, to creating more jobs and accelerate greater investments in sectors of mutual interests. 

TheCityUK International Managing Director Nicola Watkinson said: “Nigeria is an important growth market for the UK-based financial and related professional services industry and TheCityUK welcomes the signing of the new ETIP.

“We look forward to continuing our engagement through the working groups to increase market access and remove regulatory frictions.

The partnership will create opportunities across a breadth of sectors crucial to both economies, such as financial and legal services.  

Other activities

While in Nigeria, Business and Trade Secretary also witnessed the signing of a landmark energy agreement between UK based energy firm Konexa and Nigerian power generation company North South Power (NSP).  

The agreement will enable Konexa to supply Nigerian Breweries PLC with 100% renewable power, promote sustainable development and clean energy adoption, and lead to infrastructure investments of over £14 million. 

Konexa CEO Pradeep Pursnani said: “This is a very important milestone for Konexa, North South Power, Nigerian Breweries, and all our investment partners. Over the last few years, Konexa has been working on a disruptive model that matches customer energy demand with renewable energy supply.   

“We are looking forward to investing more than £120m in renewable energy generation, transmission, distribution, and battery storage solutions to help our customers transition away from the use of fossil fuel.”

Significant progress has been made in resolving trade between the UK and Nigeria in the education and financial sectors, which has created a more favourable trading environment for UK businesses. 

A recent resolution helped to remove restrictions to Transnational Education investment in Nigeria worth around worth around £55 million over 5 years, meaning leading UK education providers, like Charterhouse, can establish campuses in Nigeria.  

The financial services sector is also a key area of collaboration. Achieving a remittance resolution has helped to streamline multiple foreign exchange windows into a single import and export window, making it easier for UK businesses to trade with Nigeria. 

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