By Sunday Oyinloye
Nigeria Belgium Luxembourg Business Forum kicked off in Luxembourg yesterday with Nigeria’s Ambassador to Belgium, Mr. Obinna Chiedu Onowu wooing investors in ICT, youth entrepreneurship, agriculture, construction/real estate, among others
Speaking at the first day of the Business Forum, Ambassador Onowu said Luxembourg is a solid financial hub in Europe and strategic partner of Nigeria.
According to him, the event provides the opportunity to enhance collaboration between Luxembourg and Nigeria, and also grow the non-oil sector of the Nigerian economy.
The Envoy said the business environment, challenges and prospect for improved trade relations between the two countries would be discussed by participants both from public and private sectors.
While stressing the need to increase on the “minimal” trade activities between Nigeria and Luxembourg, Onowu said “Luxembourg being a financial hub would naturally like to strengthen ties with countries that place premium on issue of governance compliance, tax incentives among others. “
The Ambassador noted that the Federal Government being aware of this is determined to improve on conditions of doing business in Nigeria adding that it was in the light of that, the government institutionalized some reforms.
In his words:” Government has signed multi-lateral cooperation agreement on mutual assistance on criminal matters. Far reaching reforms have been embarked upon to diversify the country’s economy as we have moved away from fossil oil fuel to green energy; we expect more partnerships in the non-oil sector including financial services.”
He noted that Nigeria is open to investment in ICT, youth entrepreneurship, agriculture, construction/real estate among others.
Onowu disclosed further that the presentation that would be made by Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC) will address any area of concern of would be investors.
In his presentation, the Director, Investment Promotion of Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission Abubarkar Yerima said though Trade between Nigeria and Luxembourg has been relatively small, Luxembourg is a major global financial center and its finance and investment management expertise has attracted interest from Nigerian stakeholders
His words” Though progressively capital goods import has risen, the volume of export from Nigeria to Luxembourg has been insignificant.”
On why Nigeria should be a destination for investors, Yerima disclosed that its economy is on the path of steady growth recording 3.1% growth rate in 2022 and 2.3% in the first quarter of 2023
According to him, Nigeria’s key competitive advantage is reflected in its large growing population, growing middle class, favourable weather, young energetic tech-savvy entrepreneurial population, among others.
He said Nigeria is more ready for Foreign Direct Investment than most African countries adding” many Nigerian companies particularly in the service sector have long developed the capacity to serve the rest of Africa.
He listed some sectors where Nigeria is opened for investment as transportation and storage, education, entertainment and tourism, human health and social services, chemicals and pharmaceuticals, banking and finance, food and beverages and other sectors.
In his remarks, the President of Nigerian Chapter of Belgium Luxembourg Nigeria Chamber of Commerce (BLNCC) Dr. Johnson Somadina Anene also encouraged investors in Luxembourg to see Nigeria as their destination.
Presentations were also made by the Managing Director of Hofstede Insights BELUX Luxembourg, Marc Jacobs, Managing Director of VectoTrade Luxembourg, Robert Konigs, B Medical Systems Regional Manager Africa, Emma Njoku among others.