The meeting of Nigeria and Canada on trade and investment matters under the Nigeria-Canada Bi-National Commission (BNC) took place on January 28, 2013 in Abuja, Nigeria. The meeting was Co-chaired by the Nigerian Minister of Trade and Investment, Dr. Olusegun Aganga and the Canadian Minister of International Trade, the Honourable Edward Fast. This meeting followed the October 8, 2012 inaugural BNC meeting between Nigerian Foreign Minister Ashiru and Canadian Foreign Minister Baird, where both countries pledged to make the BNC the basis for a constructive and lasting strategic partnership between the two countries.
The Canadian delegation included officials from Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Export Development Canada, the Canadian Commercial Corporation, and the High Commission of Canada. The Nigerian delegation included officials from the Ministry of Trade and Investment, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Communication and Technology, the Federal Capital Territory Administration, the Economic and Financial Crime Commission, the Ministry of Education, the Small & Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria, the Nigeria Export Processing Zone Authority, the Oil & Gas Free Zone Authority, the Infrastructure Concession and Regulatory Commission, the Office of Secretary to the Government of the Federation, the Ministry of Power, the Ministry of Aviation, the Ministry of Works, the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, and other Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).
The two Ministers noted the rapidly growing volumes of trade between the two countries, and welcomed the commitment by the Canada-Nigeria Business Association to double the volume of trade by 2015 to $6 billion. The Ministers particularly welcomed the strong role of the private sector in expanding the two countries’ economic ties, and agreed on the importance of renewed efforts to ensure that each country’s private sector is more acquainted with the opportunities in the other country.
The Ministers are pleased that Canada and Nigeria are exploring the possibility of launching negotiations on a Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (FIPA) which will provide investors with the stable, transparent and predictable environment needed to invest with greater confidence and further enhance bilateral trade and investment climate.
Noting that development in the mining sector is still low in Nigeria, and that Canada has the world’s strongest mining sector, the Ministers committed themselves to collaborating on ways to develop Nigeria’s significant mineral resources by encouraging private sector partnerships in this area.
Welcoming the Nigerian Government’s commitment to the rapid implementation of the Presidential Roadmap on Electricity Sector Privatization, the two Ministers agreed to strengthen the existing collaboration and facilitate more Canadian investment in this vital sector. The two Ministers also looked forward to the early passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill, recognizing that it will build investor confidence in the sector.
Both Ministers recognized the great opportunities for increasing Canadian investment in infrastructure development, at both federal and state levels, including rail, road and aviation, as well as in agriculture, and recognized the need to encourage investment in the Information and Communications Technology sector, where Canada is already well-established.
Acknowledging Canada’s expertise in skills training for employment (vocational training) and the tremendous need for such training in Nigeria, the two Ministers pledged to support efforts to develop a model vocational training project in Nigeria by the Canadian Association of Canadian Community Colleges, as soon as possible. The two Ministers welcomed the Canadian Education Fair taking place in Abuja and Lagos.
Recognizing the importance of the principles of Corporate Social Responsibility on guiding trade and investment practices for sustainable economic development, the two Ministers agreed that Canada would work closely with Nigeria to strengthen its anti-corruption initiatives and institutions. The Ministers also reiterated that security and economic development are inter-linked and pledged to cooperate further to ensure that security is enhanced within a framework that respects human rights and rule of law.
To further expand trade and investment, the Ministers agreed to support a Nigerian Investors Forum scheduled in May, 2013, in Toronto, Canada, to better inform Canadian investors about Nigeria’s growing economy and attractive investment environment.
Recognizing that people-to-people ties are essential for commerce, the two Ministers agreed to take steps to facilitate the freest possible movement of business travellers and students between the two countries.
Finally, both countries agreed to follow up on these commitments and seek further collaboration to address the challenges identified. Both countries agreed that the next Bi-National Commission meeting will take place in Canada later in 2013.
Dr. Olusegun Olutoyin Aganga
Minister of Trade and Investment
Federal Republic of Nigeria
Hon. Edward Fast
Minister of International Trade