I have taken a focused interest in international relations, economic diplomacy, multilateral, bilateral trade arrangements, and countries’ quests for foreign direct investments because no country lives in isolation. The biggest economic powers in the world like the US and China are dependent on smaller nations in the areas of buying and selling products. They engage in bilateral and multilateralism to survive as powerful nations. They use their effective diplomatic contacts and tools to engage in free trade agreements to allow other countries access to their markets.
Having hosted a diplomatic program on AIT for 3 years, my massive exposure to diplomatic and strategic engagements with ministers of foreign affairs, economic and trade matters were years of diplomatic experience and cognate exposure. From my understanding, free trade agreements can force local industries to become more competitive and rely less on government subsidies, open new markets, increased GDP, and an invitation to new investments. Under free trade agreements, increased international trade has the following main advantages:
- Increased economic growth
- More dynamic business climate
- Lower government spending
- Foreign direct investment portfolios attract investors to flock the country
- Global companies have more technical expertise than local companies to develop local resources
- Local companies also receive access to the latest technologies from their multinational partners.
In developing a strategic format and focus for our valued readers on this DIPLOMATIC DISCOURSE column, I will focus my attention and research on developing valuable information from the 28 countries that form the EU/Schengen block including the US, UK, Canada, Australia, China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, UAE, etc. These countries have formed strategic economic partnerships with Nigeria over the years and played solid roles in the economic growth of our country during the period in question. Nigeria’s volume of trade with the EU block has astronomically increased over the years: 20 billion Euros in 2016, 26 billion Euros in 2017, and 34.4 billion euros in 2018.
Nigeria has received USD168 .5 million in new development assistance under a 5-year assistance agreement that ended in 2020. That underscores the strategic importance of the US/Nigeria bilateral agreement. This total assistance value of USD805.5 million covers ministries of health, agriculture, and national planning.
Nigeria’s Diaspora Community remains an outstanding socio-economic and political powerhouse in Europe, the aUS, Canada, China, Australia, and a host of other countries. About 1.2 million migrants from Nigeria are in the diaspora (2017 figure). With the latest trend in migration from Nigeria, the above number must have gone through the roof by now. The migration remittance to Nigeria amounts to USD23.63 billion while 2017 witnessed USD22 billion. This represented 6.1% of Nigeria’s GDP. The 2018 remittance translates to 83% of the FG. Nigeria’s diaspora remittance inflows were also 7.4 times larger than the net official Development Assistance (foreign aid) received in 2017 of USD3.4 billion. Nigeria’s present diaspora remittance stands at US2 billion monthly. I intend to focus on our diaspora community around the world with short interviews with the leadership to give a strong voice on socio-political and economic development in Nigeria.
EMBASSIES AND HIGH COMMISSIONS IN NIGERIA
I would devote a sizeable chunk of my space to this column to cover the activities of foreign embassies and high commissions in the areas and issues of trade balance growth, seamless immigration strategies that largely support FDI, the balance of trade, technology transfers, ICT development, support for actions against victimization of girls and young boys, economic cooperation projects that support the youth and women. The US and the EU economic development policies in Nigeria would be treated extensively in this space for obvious economic benefits for Nigeria. My focus in this regard will stretch beyond two national economic areas. Immigration, such a picky, thorny issue will be extensively discussed.
The preparation for the upcoming US-Nigeria Investment Summit in September this year will receive attention here because of the strategic economic value to the US and Nigeria. Each Investment Summit focuses on Nigeria and the US investment environment, industry trends, and new economic opportunities. The Investment Summit features senior government officials, C-Suite business executives, and other strong political leaders from the two countries.
The 2018 US Nigeria Investment Summit Themed: “Nigeria Is Open for Business” was the maiden edition, sponsored by the Nigerian Consulate, which drew over 700 attendees. The 2021 Investment Summit Themed, “Nigeria: The Future of Global Business” will build on the success of 2018. Topics ranging from infrastructure to workforce development will once again feature prominent industry experts and government officials from both countries.
USNIIS is an organization of people, purpose, and posterity that seeks to ensure that the significant potential in a US-Nigeria commercial, investment, and trade engagement is fully and mutually realized. I believe that such an engagement will align this important purpose to long-term posterity as it positively impacts the people of both great nations.
The mission of the organizers is to host the most advanced and influential annual summits, bringing together the direct connection of national, state, and industry policymakers, regulators, finance directors, economists, investors, industry leaders, corporations, big and small, startups, entrepreneurs and influencers that impact the economic mission of both nations.
The 2021 summit is expected to bring key representatives from the largest global sectors, including healthcare, agriculture, ICT/fintech, education, manufacturing, infrastructure / real estate, media & entertainment, transportation, and logistics, etc. The trade and investment value of opportunities is expected to exceed $5B. While primarily targeted at US-Nigeria engagement, participants from around the globe are expected to participate.