UK prime minister’s envoy visits Nigeria for trade

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Bayo Akinloye

The United Kingdom Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to Nigeria, John Howell, is in Abuja on a two-day visit.

The visit, which began on Monday, will end today (Tuesday).

According to a statement issued on Monday by the British High Commission to Nigeria, Howell’s visit, the second to the country since 2016, will aim to strengthen and promote the existing trade relations between the UK and Nigeria.

The statement read in part, “Meetings are scheduled to take place with a range of key stakeholders, which include Nigeria’s Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment; Minister of Finance, Minister of State for Petroleum, UK and Nigerian business leaders and also officials from the Nigerian-British Chamber of Commerce.”

The British envoy will also hold meetings that spotlight Nigeria’s ambition for the development of future cities like the Centenary City project, and the country’s plans and needs on technology and innovation.

In addition, Howell is also expected to engage with the Nigerian Stock Exchange and encourage continued cooperation between both “our stock exchanges and financial institutions as part of an effort to help grow Nigeria’s capital markets.”

Speaking ahead of the visit, Howell was quoted to have said, “I’m looking forward to visiting Nigeria again and the opportunity to build on my previous visit and also my engagement with British businesses in the UK. On this visit, I will take forward engagement on ease of doing business and will specifically discuss with ministers key barriers that impact business and explore UK and Nigerian partnerships. I will be visiting the Centenary City and discussing opportunities around Nigeria’s ambition to develop future (smart) cities.

“The UK has substantial expertise in urban planning and transport, which we hope to support commercially in Nigeria via the Future Cities work-strand of the Prosperity Fund. I also want to advance my understanding of Nigeria’s plans and needs on technology and innovation, and will be visiting the Abuja Tech Village. The UK is keen to support greater digital access and connectivity in Nigeria.”

Howell stated that the Nigerian-British Chamber of Commerce had made a huge contribution to help facilitate trade between the two nations.

He said, “I’m looking forward to celebrating the hard work of the chamber and also engaging with Nigerian businesses, and learning about their needs and how British expertise can help Nigerian companies grow. UK businesses look to be a key partner in helping Nigeria achieve its huge economic potential.

“The UK is a global centre of excellence in diverse areas, including architecture, digital technologies and professional services such as cyber security, fintech and general consultancy services; academia, health care, renewable energy, oil and gas and mining supply chain. Nigerian domestic businesses who partner UK businesses stand to benefit from skills and technology transfer, economies of scale and access to innovative technologies.”

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