Africa, NORDIC countries to boost trade, investment

Adoba Echono, Abuja

African countries and NORDIC countries have agreed to improve and develop new initiatives to boost trade and investments between them.

The Nigerian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Geoffrey Onyeama disclosed this in an interview with journalists at the 16th Africa NORDIC Ministers of Foreign Affairs meeting in Abuja, Nigeria.

 ”Participants at the 16th Africa – Nordic Ministers of Foreign Affairs meeting  agreed on ways to improve and develop trade and investment between the two groups of countries”, explained Mr. Onyeama.

He said that the ministers were also looking at the possibility of African and NORDIC countries having a free trade of some kind and market access.

NORDIC countries or Nordics are a geographical and cultural region in Northern Europe and the North Atlantic made up of Sweden, Norway, Finland, Iceland and Denmark.

Mr. Onyeama said the thematic session was on trade and investment and all the countries looked at ways of improving and developing trade and investment between the Nordic countries and African Countries.

“What we are actually looking at is promoting direct trade between the NORDIC zone and Africa.”

“So we are particularly looking at market access for African businesses and also greater investment by the NORDIC countries in Africa.

According to Mr.Onyeama, “in this context we are also looking at non repatriation the fruits of all their investment in Africa but also to invest locally  the profits they are making in Africa”.

He said that the participating ministers also identified a number of areas such as education, tax and other important mechanisms and elements that could promote trade and investment.

Mr. Onyeama said that Sweden explained that a way to make Africa attractive for trade and tourism was to have in place mechanism for the respect of rule of law and human right and also infrastructure.

The Nigerian Foreign Minister also said that Finland noted that Africa’s level of skill was not sufficiently high that would make Africa competitive in their market place.

He said that Finland minister harped on the need for education for the businessmen to help them penetrate and compete effectively in their market as well invests NORDIC countries.

Mr. Onyeama said that the Nigerian government was trying to promote and encourage Nigerian businesses to invest in those countries to increase Nigeria’s foreign earnings.

“So we have to now look at the possibility of ECOWAS and NORDIC having a free trade of some kind and market access.”

Mr. Onyeama expressed optimism that decisions reached at the end of the meeting will help give some African countries access to international market.

 

Nnenna.O