Nigeria’s diaspora is an asset to UK, says envoy

The Nigerian’s Diaspora in the UK, the second largest in the world, is an asset to the UK’s trade and investment activity, UK Trade Envoy to Nigeria, John Howell, says.
Howell stated this in his speech to the first Nigeria Trade and Investment Road Show in London holding from July 11 to 15.

“In 2013, UK was home to 184,000 of the 1.1 million officially registered first generation Nigerian Diaspora, second only to the U.S.

“Around 18,000 Nigerian students come to the UK, which is around 10 per cent of total foreign students to the UK, the third largest after India and China.

“Nigeria’s Diaspora is an asset that can support the UK’s export and investment activity,” he said.

According to him, new areas of opportunity are emerging across a variety of sectors as Nigeria develops and grows.

“Opportunities exist across sectors such as agriculture, infrastructure, technology, solid minerals, education and training, among others,” he said.

Howell said the successful 2015 presidential election had helped to solidify Nigeria’s democratic credentials, adding with just over a year in government, the administration had made meaningful strides.
“The extent of success for trade and investment will of course also depend on the success of President Muhammadu Buhari’s reforms.

“We welcome the Central Bank of Nigeria’s announcement that Nigeria will move to a more flexible foreign exchange rate policy.

“This is positive news that international business have been waiting for to encourage greater investment in Nigeria,” he said.

Howell said the UK, with its strong historic links to Africa, had so much to offer and pledging to build the business links between the two countries for economic growth.

“Nigeria remains an attractive export and investment destination for the UK because of its scale, resource wealth and location potential.

“In 2015, Nigeria was named the third fastest growing economy in the world. Nigeria’s economy is expected to grow between five per cent and seven per cent per year by 2030.

“UK businesses are well placed to succeed in Nigeria. Nigeria is only six hours away from UK, which is a relatively short flight.”

According to him, Nigeria has a familiar legal system adding, the Nigerian judiciary and legal system are based on the UK’s.

“This simplifies business set up processes and provides guidance in potential disputes. Nigeria is also a member of The Commonwealth, which means we share a lot of similarities.”

The UK envoy welcomed Buhari’s commitment to tackling corruption in Nigeria, saying it is critical to the country’s economic prosperity and security, and to reducing poverty and inequality.

According to him, corruption creates barriers to doing business and the threat from money laundering and fraud directly impacts the UK.

He commended the UK Trade and Investment, Nigeria Investment Promotion Commission and PricewaterhouseCoopers teams for organising the road show.

“I’ve only recently been appointed as the Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to Nigeria and I’m very excited to be taking on this new role.

“This is because, the bilateral relationship between the UK and Nigeria is of great importance to our country,” he said.

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