The Team Lead, West and Central Africa, Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland, Jussi Nummelin, says Finland exported €35m worth of goods to Nigeria in 2018.
Speaking with our correspondent on the sidelines of the World Circular Economic Forum 2019 in Finland on Wednesday, he said the export to Nigeria majorly comprised industrial goods as well as power and telecommunication equipment.
On the other hand, he said that Nigeria’s export to Finland was low and mainly made up of agricultural products.
Nummelin noted that there were opportunities for the Nigerian economy to thrive in the areas of clean renewable energy as the oil and gas industry had become riddled with many challenges and negatively impacting environmental sustainability.
He expressed concerns that the insecurity in Nigeria was affecting the business decision of investors who were interested in doing business in Nigeria.
Nummelin, however, encouraged Finnish companies to explore business opportunities in Nigeria in order to improve trade relations between both countries.
“Nigeria is a typical African economy. The difficulties in developing markets are huge but in different scales. We are concerned about the security in Sahel region. Climate change has massive consequences if we don’t address the causes. What happens in Nigeria in terms of instability is crucial because the country has a way of leading others in the West African region,” he added.
He also encouraged the Nigerian president to sign the African Continental Free Trade agreement into law for the country to remain competitive.
According to him, signing the trade pact will give entrepreneurs in Nigeria unrestricted access to over 1.2 billion market in Africa.
“The need for reforms in the economy is big. The free economy market is an opportunity to sell to more consumers beyond the local market,” he added.
The AfCFTA aims to accelerate intra-Africa trade and boost the continent’s trading position in the global market and enhance the competitiveness of industries and enterprises and eliminate 90 per cent of tariffs.
The free trade pact, however, kicked off on May 30, 2019, with 24 countries out of 54 ratifying the agreement.
The 24 countries that have signed the agreement have until July to develop strategies and implement the deal.
Benin, Eritea, South Africa and Nigeria are some of the countries that have yet to sign the pact.
President Muhammadu Buhari had refused to join the continental free-trade zone established in March last year, on the grounds that it wished to defend its own businesses and industry.
The president later said it wanted more time to consult business leaders, Reuters reported.
“In trying to guarantee employment, goods and services in our country, we have to be careful with agreements that will compete, maybe successfully, against our upcoming industries,” Buhari told a news conference during a visit by South African President Cyril Ramaphosa to Nigeria.
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