The Head of the European Union Delegation to Nigeria, Ambassador Samuela Isopi has said that the European bloc remains Nigeria’s strongest trade partner over the years.
Isopi, who is also the head of the EU Delegation to the rest of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), while addressing a press conference in Abuja on the forthcoming Europe Day 2022, and also provide information on several issues, including the European Union’s engagements with Nigeria and with ECOWAS, revealed that the total EU-Nigeria trade in 2021 stood at €28.7 billion.
She noted that EU imports from Nigeria at the last count was €17.5 billion with exports to the country during the last fiscal year standing at €11.2 billion.
The EU Head disclosed that the trade balance in 2021 stood at €6.4bn in favour of Nigeria, while the year-on- year change between 2020 and 2021 recorded a surplus of 25.8 percent.
She said: “The EU is Nigeria’s most important trading partner accounting for 20.9% of Nigeria’s trade with the world.”
She also added that: “EU is the first export destination for Nigeria, accounting for 25.4% of its exports,” while the EU is second in Nigeria’s imports from the world accounting for 16.1% of its total imports.
Isopi however noted that the EU is oftentimes not seen as the most important business and trading partner of Nigeria because the EU is seen with the eye of different countries with varying trade and bilateral relationship with Nigeria.
She said this is a misconception as the EU is a trading bloc and should be seen as such, while noting that the European Union has a long-standing partnership with Nigeria.
She added: “The recent launch of the Multiannual Indicative Programme (2021-2027) last February, is an important step in reinforcing and concretising the EU’s cooperation with Nigeria. It will enable the EU and Nigeria to continue working together on programmes and projects that are built on shared objectives, principles and values.”
She recalled that the recent visit to Nigeria of the Executive Vice President of the European Commission, Ms. Margrethe Vestager focused on a positive economic, innovation, youth and digital agenda in line with the outcome and objectives of the EU-AU Summit.
Isopi said one of the plans to further improved trade and bilateral relationship with Nigeria is EU-Nigerian Business Forum organised in collaboration with the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, scheduled to take place in Lagos on 30 June and 1 July, under the theme, ‘Nigeria and the new world economy’, which will address key issues relating to doing business in Nigeria – the opportunities, but also the challenges and the second day will be devoted to EU involvement in the agricultural sector.
The EU Head in the country while lamenting that Nigeria is currently facing manifold security crisis with violence encompassing various phenomena, such as terror attacks, armed banditry and organised crime, including kidnapping and human trafficking, noted that on several occasions, national stakeholders have raised the alarm about insecurity and violence in the country.
She said that with several non-state armed groups challenging the state’s monopoly of violence in different portions of the territory, the EU has responded by supporting, government efforts to fight against terrorism, radicalization and violent extremism, including through a criminal justice programme; Operation Safe Corridor through a DDRR programme in the North East, the strengthening of civilian protection policy and practice; the enhancement of state and community-level conflict management capability in the North East; the implementation of the National Livestock Transformation Plan (NLTP) to address conflicts between farmers and herders; Multi-stakeholders Dialogues in the Niger Delta; and ECOWAS peace and security architecture and operations.