United Arab Emirates’ investors have signified interest in Nigeria’s business environment to promote their investment. This followed discussions between the First Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors of Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce, Ibrahim Mahmoud Al Mahmoud and Ambassador of Nigeria to the UAE, Mohammed Dansanta Rimi.
The duo met in the Middle East country where they discussed ways of promoting mutual cooperation between companies and institutions from Abu Dhabi and Nigeria. During the meeting, Al Mahmood said that the Chamber aimed to promote the emirate’s economic and investment cooperation with the private sector and create ties between businessmen, companies and institutions from both the UAE and Nigeria.
The UAE’s trade sector has the substantial expertise and capacities to promote cooperation with Nigerian companies, he added. On his part, Director-General of Abu Dhabi Chamber, Mohamed Helal Al Muhairi, explained the facilitation and services provided by the chamber for foreign companies that aim to invest and establish projects in Abu Dhabi, while calling on Nigerian institutions to benefit from these facilitations and establish investment industrial projects in the emirate. Al Muhairi added that the coming period would witness progress in the bilateral relations between the two countries.
He also highlighted the mutual desire of Emirati and Nigerian companies to reinforce their cooperation and increase their joint investments.
In turn, Ambassador Rimi said that Abu Dhabi has advanced its international economic position through the facilitation and opportunities it provides to foreign investors and businessmen, while highlighting the aspirations of Nigerian companies to strengthen their investment cooperation with Emirati companies.
He added that a delegation from his country will soon visit Abu Dhabi, to promote cooperation between Emirati and Nigerian companies in a variety of economic sectors. About three years ago, a former ambassador to UAE, Ibrahim Auwalu, had observed that trade between both countries was not formal, in spite of the cordial relations between them.
“The trade volume is big because a lot of Nigerians visit Dubai regularly for shopping, but about 99 per cent of this trade is informal,” he said. Auwalu said that the mission was then negotiating investment promotion and protection agreement in that regard.
While expressing hope that the agreement, when signed, would correct the trade imbalance and encourage foreign direct investments in Nigeria, he added that several UAE companies had communicated their readiness to invest in renewable energy, agriculture, mining and real-estate business in Nigeria, saying that the trade between both countries favoured UAE more than Nigeria.
“But once we sign the agreement, it will open up Nigerian economy for more investments from companies in the UAE,” he said. He also observed that UAE had become a choice destination for Nigerians that are interested in real estate business, adding that Nigerians remain the second largest property owners in Dubai’s real estate sector after Indians. He said that Nigerians spent more than $110 million (N39.6 billion) annually on UAE visas.
“Moderately, we can say Nigerians have spent close to $1 billion in the last 10 years on visas to the UAE, excluding the cost of flight tickets, hotels and shopping,” he said.
The UAE is the second largest investor into Africa from the Middle East region, according to the Financial Times’ Foreign Direct Investment report. UAE is the second top investing country in Africa by value of capital investment in 2016, accounting for $11billion of capex giving it a 12 per cent market share, said the report.
UAE-led FDI rose a substantial 161 per cent from 2015, when it pumped $4.2 billion of capex into African projects, the report mentioned, quoting a study by the UN Economic Commission for Africa, titled: “Investment Policies and Bilateral Investment Treaties (BITs): Implications for Regional Integration.”
Source: New Telegraph