With 2020 in focus, Canada is set to partner with Nigeria in 2020 as preparations heighten to endorse the Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement, FIPPA.
This was stated by the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Monday at the opening of the Nigeria-Canada Investment Summit 2019 in Abuja.
Nigeria and Canada already have a Double Taxation Agreement that came into place in 1999.
Prof. Osinbajo said Nigeria has a long-standing trade and commerce relationship with Canada with bilateral trade of about $984 million.
He said that the summit should be seen as an important process, not just events in deepening the socio-economic ties between Nigeria and Canada.
“There is no question that both of our governments and business communities realize that there is enormous potential in our relationship,” Vice President Osinbajo stated.
According to him, aside the summits, there have been high-level contacts between Nigeria and Canada since 2018, including the visits of the Governor General of Canada, Julie Payette in October 2018, the earlier working visit of the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Canada’s Minister of International Development and La Francophone and that of Ahmed Hussen.
“And two Royal Canadian Navy Ships which berthed in Lagos to engage the Nigerian Navy in a Joint Training on Security in the Gulf of Guinea.
“It was the first of its kind in the 108 years of the existence of the Royal Canadian Navy.”
Vice President Osinbajo said the Nigeria-Canada Investment Summit was particularly important because it has “much richer public sector participation than ever before.”
He noted that the summit’s focus was on mining, power, agriculture, housing, education and technology, which “are sectors that Nigeria has identified as crucial to the success of our economic recovery and growth plan.”
Osinbajo said Nigeria was determined to work collaboratively with investors to create the best possible environment for businesses in the sectors to thrive.
“In mining , our Mining Industry Growth Roadmap lays out the scale of our ambitions in this sector and it goes beyond just extraction and exportation.
“We intend to create a broad spectrum of value-added activities by fully maximizing the abundant opportunities for mineral resource benefits, exploiting the possibilities in support services and support industries that will be nurtured around core mining activities. “
We are of course all excited about the prospects evident in the spring fountaine and bullion mart collaboration.
“In the power sector , we believe that investment in renewal energy is bound to benefit from our focus on off grid and mini grid options for delivering power to our huge population and commerce .
“Our energizing education, private solar power facilities in several Universities, and energizing markets , private solar power in markets and economic clusters have demonstrated that businesses are prepared to pay for regular power supply and that given the high radiation all around the country the solar option makes perfect sense.
“Agriculture and agribusiness also has tremendous prospects. Government believes that the next few years are crucial for our vision of food security and especially self sufficiency in the production of several food and cash crops.
“But the whole agribusiness value chain is open for investment . The sheer size of our market now and in the immediate future and the export potential point inexorably to the importance of investment in this sector .
‘Housing is also a crucial area of focus for us. With a housing deficit of about 17m demand is obvious. Our Family Homes Fund is a special public private sector fund dedicated to our mass low cost housing scheme.
“Solving the off taker constraints also calls for mortgage finance solutions. There is plenty of room for activity.”
The vice president said the next few years would be exciting for industry, trade and commerce in Nigeria, especially with the coming into force of the African Continental Free Trade Area, AfCTA, agreement.
“Nigeria remains the most logical destination for reaping maximum benefit from the agreements.
“Consequently, we have devoted considerable attention to improving the Nigerian business environment .and we have by all accounts recorded notable success.
“Since 2016 we have risen by an aggregate of 39 places on the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business rankings.
“Just two weeks ago the World bank also rated Nigeria as one of the ten best reforming economies in the world.
“We are set for business, and we look forward to continuous engagement with the Canadian government and business community in the coming months.”
Speaking on the diplomatic relations between Nigeria and Canada, Nigeria’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, represented by the Minister of State, Zubair Dada, said the two countries share rich political and diplomatic history.
“Both nations enjoy fruitful and mutually beneficial economic friendship and both countries are in the Commonwealth of Nations,” Dada said.
In his remarks, the Director-General (West and Central Africa) Global Affairs Canada, Mr. Tarik Khan, said that “as Canada’s 2nd trading partner in sub-Saharan Africa, and the largest investor into Canada from the region, Nigeria is one of our most important partners in sub-Saharan Africa.
“And as far as our investment is concerned, in 2018, Canadian direct investments in Nigeria were about $500million.”
Khan said Nigeria represented an attractive market for Canadian goods and services and is the third largest export market in Africa for Canada.