Diversification: Lagos, FG to partner with EU

 The Lagos State Governor, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode has spoken of Lagos State’s readiness to partner the European Union (EU) in the area of increasing domestic investment, promotion of Small Medium Entreprises (SMEs) and development of its science and technology sector geared towards the diversification of the economy.
 Speaking at the 5th edition of the EU-Nigeria Business Forum (EUNBF), held at Eko Hotel, Lagos,Governor Ambode said Lagos State  would support the EU’s call for the diversification and  expansion of existing partnership in science and technology, as the partnership would be beneficial to not just the EU but Nigeria as well.
 He said Nigeria needed to improve the sector, adding the EU was in a good position to see the expansion come true.
  “We feel very happy that you have taken this very important decision to expand beyond the traditional roles in your relationship with the country.
 “Your expansion should include transport, energy, climate change, education, agriculture and science and technology. Improvement in any of these areas will be very beneficial to both parties.
 “I believe very strongly that the EU will benefit from this stronger relationship with Nigeria because we are trading partners,’’ he said.
 Speaking at the event, Head of EU Delegation in Nigeria, Ambassador Michael Arrion said by next year the EU will investing heavily in the agric business, saying that this is part of the plan of the union to developed a robust economic relations and partnership with the Nigeria.
He said the focus of last year’s forum was agriculture, which is the sector where Nigeria has the most obvious comparative advantage for the diversifying her economy.
 “I am pleased to announce that the most tangible result of last year’s forum was the commencement of an agricultural policy dialogue between the EU and Nigeria,” he said.
He said the agricultural policy dialogue was officially launched in September, and is gradually intensifying in Nigeria.
 His words: “Our team had fruitful meetings with Honorable Minister Ogbeh and other representatives of the Ministry of Agriculture with a view to promote responsible investments in the agribusiness sector and to attract more European investments into this key sector.
 “I am also pleased to announce that on February next year, the EU Commissioner for Agriculture, Phil Hogan, will lead a business delegation to Nigeria seeking for opportunities to invest locally in agribusiness.”
 He said this year edition of the EUNBF, tagged “Harnessing Nigeria’s Potential for Economic Growth”, has been put together to  explore options for accessing long term finance for the critical power sector in Nigeria; identify opportunities in the textile value chain and  explore opportunities for EU and Nigerian Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to increase their businesses market through the platform of the Enterprise Europe Network (EEN)
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