By Ndubuisi Micheal Obineme
With Canada’s new investment plan in Africa, the government has considered it very important to explore the potentials in Nigeria and establish a strong trade and investment relationship that will benefit both countries as a whole.
In an interview with our correspondent on the sideline of the Nigeria-Canada Investment Summit recently held in Abuja, Canada’s Deputy High Commissioner in Nigeria, Ryan Ward, said that its country trade team is working to promote opportunities in the oil & gas sector, as well as education, telecommunications, mining, clean technologies, and arts & culture.
According to him, there’s actually more Nigerian investment in Canada. And, Canadian trade team is fully engaged in investment promotion in both directions, and is looking for ways to identify potential Nigerian investors in Canada as part of the country’s action plan for next year.
“We’re also doing a lot of work to promote innovation linkages between our countries, and are seeing increasing interest from Nigerian startups looking to grow in Canada”
“There is significant interest in both Nigeria and Canada in growing our mutual trade and investment relationship. Some of the sectors of greatest potential in Nigeria – particularly around the extractive industries – are areas where Canada has strong experience and leading technology solutions,” he said
Over the years, Nigeria and Canada began bilateral relation to promote investment opportunities between both countries. A Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (FIPA) was developed. It was signed by Canada’s Minister of Development, Christian Paradis and the Nigerian Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Olusegun Olutoyin Aganga on May 6, 2014.
Canada then ratified the agreement in 2015, but it hasn’t made it that far yet as Nigeria has developed a new model for further agreements, and the previously-signed text differs from the new one in some areas.
“Our teams in Abuja and Lagos are in discussions with the Government of Nigeria to see how we can move forward with getting a finalized FIPA into place. It’s in both our interests to come to a mutually beneficial agreement, as a FIPA will make a fundamental difference for companies looking at investment opportunities,” he added
While emphasizing on the worth of investments in both countries, he said, Nigeria is the largest source of investment from Africa into Canada – with a total value of CAD895 million in stocks as of 2017, it was also the 31st largest source worldwide. In the other direction, there is CAD483 million of Canadian investment in Nigeria, making Nigeria the 61st largest destination for Canadian investors.
“There is a lot of space to increase this bilateral investment through the implementation of the FIPA, and the continued development of Nigeria’s mining sector.”