The United Kingdom has agreed to help Nigeria with non-oil exports by increasing the air freight capacity of British Airways, its national carrier — provided the efficiency of Nigeria’s international airports increases.
Both countries reached this agreement in a communique signed in Abuja on Tuesday at the first Economic Development Forum.
Okechukwu Enelamah, the minister of industry, trade and investment, led the Nigerian delegation while Jeremy Hunt, UK foreign secretary, represented his country.
According to the communique, increasing the BA’s capacity would help Nigeria’s non-oil export reach third-market destinations through London thus support the government’s export diversification agenda.
Also, both countries 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.
Nigeria also committed to continuing the reforms that would make the operating environment conducive for businesses and investments that will deliver sustainable new jobs in Nigeria.
Speaking at the signing of the communique, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo said the current level of trade and investments between the two countries is materially below potential, given that Africa represents only 2% of the UK’s trade relationships, and Nigeria represents only a tenth of that.
He called for all hands to be on deck to ensure that “we foster the right environment to grow the level of bilateral trade and investment between our great countries.”
The forum was launched in August 2018 by President Muhammadu Buhari and Theresa May, UK prime minister, as a platform to foster economic and development ties between Nigeria and the United Kingdom.