Lagos, Feb. 4, 2024: Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has called for increased bilateral relations between Nigeria and Angola.
Obasanjo made the call at the Angola-Nigeria Diplomatic-Business Investment meeting on Saturday in Lagos.
Obasanjo, who was a special guest of honour at the event, said the meeting focused on the potential for enhanced collaboration between the two countries.
According to him, the meeting also emphasises the need to boost trade volume within Africa, which reflects a commitment to advancing economic partnerships on the continent.
Obasanjo advised that attention should be on African countries’ benefits from their own products, as it aligns with the goal of promoting intra-African trade and economic self-sufficiency.
He expressed concerns about infrastructural deficits, particularly in transportation and highlighted the challenges that needed to be addressed to facilitate seamless trade between nations.
“We are still battling with high deficit in transportation. For instance, moving goods from two countries; Congo DR and Congo Brazzaville is still a problem. We need to solve this challenges of moving goods around.
“One of the things the leaders of the post independence achieved is to promote African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AFCFTA),” he said.
Also, the Secretary, National Action Committee of AFCFTA, Nigeria, Mr Olusegun Awolowo, said the lack of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) between Nigeria and Angola underscored the untapped potential for economic engagement between the two largest oil exporters in Africa.
“Sadly, there is no Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) between Nigeria and Angola. This means trade between the two biggest oil exporters is zero, and this is not good enough.
“Angola is importing from the rest of the world what it can actually get from Nigeria and Nigeria doing likewise, we should trade between ourselves.
“Comparatively, we supply what they don’t have and they also supply what we don’t have. Former President Obasanjo has mentioned some areas that need more collaboration.
“It’s true we have some infrastructural deficits which both government and the private organisations can also latch on to invest,” he said.
On the efforts to address trade barriers and streamline visa processes, President, Angola-Nigeria Business Council, Mrs Fifi Ejindu, called for a positive step toward fostering smoother trade tiies between Nigeria and Angola.
According to her, the support from Angolan government authorities further reinforces the potential for progress in this regard.
Ejindu said that the engagement of Nigerian investors and the anticipated business activations in Angola indicated growing interest and participation in the trade initiatives discussed.
Dr Armando Manuel, former Minister of Finance in Angola, said that positive assessment of the recent diplomatic-business investment meeting signaled the fruitful nature of the discussions and the potential for tangible outcomes in the near future.
“We are awaiting Nigerian investors to come to Angola because we already have the expertise in various sectors.
“We are talking about opportunities in pharmaceutical sector, agriculture and others, because our population is growing, while food security is a sort of concern.
“Angola has interesting policies to nurture investment in agriculture in terms of poultry, feed mill, soya beans, sorghum, maize and some cash crops such as cotton.
In his closing remarks, former Senate President, Bukola Saraki, said he looked forward to the outcome of the Angola-Nigeria business meeting.
NAN reports that part of the business investment discussed are the construction a Free Trade Zone by Angolan government, tourism, energy, and air travels.