The United Kingdom (UK) has signed an Enhanced Trade and Investment Partnership (ETIP) with Nigeria to boost trade and investment between the two countries and unlock new opportunities for businesses in both countries.
According to a statement issued on Tuesday by the Senior Press & Public Affairs Officer of the British Deputy High Commission in Lagos, Ndidiamaka Eze, the UK Secretary of State, Kemi Badenoch, signed the ETIP alongside her Nigerian counterpart, Trade Minister Doris Nkiruka Uzoka-Anite in Abuja on Tuesday.
ETIP is the first the UK has signed with an African country and is designed to grow the UK and Nigeria’s already thriving trading relationship, which totalled £7 billion in the year to September 2023, the statement said.
This arrangement will pave the way for opportunities in sectors crucial to both economies such as finance and legal services as well as foster new collaborations in innovative areas like the creative industry. The visit by the Secretary of State comes a week ahead of a UK Government-led fashion and beauty trade delegation to Nigeria.
In her remarks after signing the deal, UK Business and Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch said: “The UK and Nigeria are vital partners, with longstanding historical and economic ties. UK businesses are already seeing huge success in Nigeria – one of the fastest growing economies in the world.
“I’m delighted to be here to sign our new enhanced partnership which will allow UK firms to export their world-class goods and services more easily and expand their footprint in Nigeria.”
Nigerian Minister for Trade, Doris Nkiruka Uzoka-Anite, said: “The UK is one of our long-standing strategic partners with whom we share strong ties, and it gladdens me that this relationship is set to deepen as we sign the Enhanced Trade and Investment Partnership.
“This partnership will see Nigeria-UK relations move beyond one of shared history and strong ties to one of shared economic prosperity. From increasing market access and supporting our vibrant businesses, to creating more jobs and accelerating greater investments in sectors of mutual interests.”
The ETIP will help to build on the significant progress already made in resolving market access barriers in the education and financial sectors, which have led to a more favourable trading environment for UK and Nigerian businesses.
In addition, through this partnership, there is an opportunity to leverage UK and international investment from the City of London, which is home to the top financial and professional services.
TheCityUK International Managing Director Nicola Watkinson said: “Nigeria is an important growth market for the UK-based financial and related professional services industry and TheCityUK welcomes the signing of the new ETIP.
“We look forward to continuing our engagement through the working groups to increase market access and remove regulatory frictions.”
During the visit, Minister Badenoch will also hold a groundbreaking ceremony at Abuja’s first industrial park built by UK-Turkish construction firm Zeberced Ltd to open its support services areas at the site.
The UK government has been supporting the firm in a number of areas. The $144m industrial park is set to create 620 direct jobs and 1,650 indirect jobs and provide a base for major firms to access central and northern Nigeria.
The UK trade minister will, in addition, witness the signing of a landmark energy agreement between UK based energy firm Konexa and Nigerian power generation company North South Power (NSP).
The agreement will enable Konexa to supply Nigerian Breweries PLC with 100% renewable power, promote sustainable development and clean energy adoption, and lead to infrastructure investments of over £14 million.
Konexa CEO Pradeep Pursnani said: “This is a very important milestone for Konexa, North South Power, Nigerian Breweries, and all our investment partners. Over the last few years, Konexa has been working on a disruptive model that matches customer energy demand with renewable energy supply.
“We are looking forward to investing more than £120m in renewable energy generation, transmission, distribution, and battery storage solutions to help our customers’ transition away from the use of fossil fuel.”
The ETIP also initiates further collaboration on the UK’s ambitious Developing Countries Trading Scheme (DCTS), launched last year which puts in place simpler and more generous trading terms for Nigeria and 36 other African countries.
Nigeria is a major beneficiary of changes introduced by the DCTS and will see tariff reductions on over 3000 products, meaning that 99% of existing Nigerian exports to the UK by value will be duty free. Tariffs have been removed on Nigerian goods which promote value addition in important non-oil export sectors such as cocoa butter and paste, sesame oil and clothing and apparel. These changes will boost trade with the UK and support the Federal Government of Nigeria’s wider trade policy priorities.