UK’s Increased Collaboration With Nigerian Businesses
Mr Paul Arkwright, the UK High Commissioner to Nigeria has written an encouraging article in Nigeria’s national media, about a substantial increase in partnerships between the two nations recently – further enhancing our long-standing business and familial ties. More than 500 UK companies are already doing business in Nigeria.
Mr Arkwright is also scheduled to welcome Heads and senior leaders taking part in The UK Boarding Schools exhibition, organised by Mark Brooks Education and Anderson Education, at a VIP Reception at his residence in mid-March.
- UK on the international stage. Mr Arkwright begins by explaining that: “the British Prime Minister has highlighted the need for the UK to have a ‘new, long-term approach to Africa’, one that addressees the long-term demographic and economic challenges and establishes the UK’s position on the continent in a post-Brexit world.”
- Africa matters to the UK. Meanwhile, “the UK/Africa trading relationship is worth over $30 billion, the UK is the second largest investor on the continent, and the shared history in many countries enables close business and familial links,” Mr Arkwright adds.
- Growth in Nigeria. As the now the largest economy in Africa (overtaking South Africa) it is crucial that the nation Nigeria becomes an engine for positive growth across the whole continent. Mr Arkwright enthuses that the British Government has: “high ambition for a deeper, broader and stronger trade relationship between the UK and Nigeria,” so that the UK benefits from this growth.
- New optimism. Reflecting on this new growth, Mr Arkwright says that: “the economic turbulence over recent years in Nigeria seems to be subsiding.” He bases this on “the positive outlooks for Nigeria from the World Bank, IMF and WTO for 2018.” And states that “PWC is predicting a cautiously optimistic 2018 with headlines focused on stability on oil prices around $60pb leading to a projected 2% growth this year with decrease in inflation in parallel.”
- Doing business in Nigeria – Mr Arkwright’s experience is that: “the country has also been working hard to challenge perceptions about doing business in Nigeria with a climb of 24 places from 2016 on the Ease of Doing Business Index to 145 presenting a more conducive environment in which to attract increased trade, although there’s some way to go.”
- Nigeria’s Diaspora in the UK – Looking at the UK, Nigeria’s growing population presents opportunities as well as challenges. He illustrates this by commenting that: “the UK hosts the world’s second largest population of Nigerian diaspora.” And in the present climate of Brexit, Mr Arkwright says that: “these strong bonds and a shared history will help prepare the UK to exit the European Union. We want to help business export, drive investment, open up markets and champion free trade.”
- UK Government support – There is a regular flow of British business leaders and government ministers visiting Nigeria to develop new partnerships. Mr Arkwright says that just a few months ago: “I took my Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, to Diageo’s Nigeria Guinness brewery in Lagos.” And the Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy, John Howell, visited Unilever and later in February the Africa Trade Commissioner will be in Nigeria.
Mr Arkwright concludes:
Exciting days lie ahead for both our nations with the UK moving to a post-Brexit world and Nigeria heading towards the next round of elections with a cautiously optimistic economic backdrop. We’re proud to say that we’re a long-standing friend… doing what friends do best: encouraging, supporting and benefiting from our shared prosperity.
This is my precis of this encouraging article, the original was published in Nigeria’s The Guardian newspaper.