Nigeria, Norway seek stronger ties as trade hits $30 billion
Ambassador of Norway to Nigeria, Mr. Jens-Petter Kjemprud
With Nigeria being Norway’s largest trade partner on the continent, both economies have stressed the need to strengthen the bilateral ties even further.Indeed, both economies with apparently the same Gross Domestic Product (GDP) size believe that fresh investment opportunities abound for both countries to be explored as trade volume between both countries stood at $30 billion.
The Norwegian Ambassador to Nigeria, Jens-Petter Kjemprud, explained that there is a lot both countries can do together, pointing out that Norway is currently making plans to increase investments in Nigeria’s oil and gas industry with focus also on the power sector.
The Ambassador at a stakeholders’ meeting to present and promote the investment opportunities and incentives in Norway for prospective Nigerian investors in Lagos, advised that Nigeria’s manufacturing sector can only be competitive globally if the sector gets stable and cheap power supply.
According to him, “Nigeria needs renewable energy to take root in the country and incentivize investments.“The power sector needs to be regulated and organised to attract investments. There are huge investment opportunities in the power sector and there is also need to secure these investments.”He tasked the managers of the Nigerian economy to deploy the use of technology in all sectors of the economy to achieve accelerated economic growth.
Also speaking at the event, the Chairman, Nigerian Norwegian Chambers of Commerce (NCNN), Chijioke Igwe, said the primary objective of the chamber is to grow the volume of business-to-business interaction between Nigeria and Norway, maintaining that the forum explores ways on how best to tap into the resilience and discipline of the Norwegian economy.
In his words, “The chamber cuts across all industries and we are looking at creating an enabling environment for businesses in Nigeria and Norway to interact and develop projects to the benefits of both sides of the divide. We have put together a group of professionals across different sectors to engage the government on impact of policies on the economy, because most of the times, the government does not have a clear understanding of the impact of their policies on the business environment.”
The Chief Executive Officer, Marine Platforms and Consul General of Norway, Taofik Adegbite, said Nigeria must harness the technology of Norway to fast-track rapid growth and development, stating that the forum would give Nigerian businesses the opportunities to interact with key stakeholders of the Norwegian economy while also developing Nigerian businesses which he said are in dire need for technological development.
Adegbite, said Norway should also tap into massive opportunities in Nigeria in terms of technology, training of youths and power sector, among others.He however enjoined Nigerian Government to create a business friendly environment and encourage private investors to operate vessels in the maritime sector.On the side lines, the Director General, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) added that most of the policies of the federal government are not State specific, pointing out that the federal government must create the enabling environment and put the right policies and institutions in place to achieve an all inclusive economy.
Regional Director for Middle East and Africa, Innovation Norway, Ole-Johan Sandvaer said: “We are a country of pioneers; we are explorers and we are known for that. We are mainly connected to the sea. We want to be known as pioneers also when it comes to sustainability in industrial development. That is why we invite any country and investors in this line to come to Norway.”