EU launches ambitious External Investment Plan in Nigeria
The European Union has launched the External Investment Plan (EIP), an ambitious initiative to encourage investment in partner countries in Africa and in the EU Neighbourhood region.
The Plan, presented at the 7th EU-Nigeria Business Forum in Lagos on 4th October, 2018, will strengthen existing partnerships by promoting inclusive growth, job creation and sustainable development. It will also tackle some of the root causes of irregular migration. The theme for the Business Forum is “Building Partnerships for Growth and Job Creation”.
The EIP is a new approach to supporting sustainable development through investment. It will improve the way in which scarce public funds are used and how public authorities and private investors cooperate on investment projects. Through a new guarantee mechanism, the EIP will increase private investment in higher risk environments, facilitate private sector investments that otherwise would not be available, and mobilise investment for countries where investing is difficult.
The Plan targets five key sectors (investment windows):
Sustainable Energy and Connectivity
Micro, Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (MSMEs) Financing
Sustainable Agriculture, Rural Entrepreneurs and Agribusiness
Digital for Development.
The Plan will also assist in developing economically and financially viable projects to attract investment, and help to improve the business environment in partner countries by supporting reforms and economic governance.
The new European Fund for Sustainable Development lies at the core of the External Investment Plan and is expected to trigger additional public and private investment volumes, mobilising total investments of up to EUR 44 billion, based on EUR 4.1 billion contribution from the EU budget and the European Development Fund. The External Investment Plan is adapted to the specific needs of partner countries and builds on the very successful model used within the EU.
7th EU-Nigeria Business Forum: Building Partnerships for Growth and Job Creation
European and Nigerian business communities and policy makers explored business opportunities and address bottlenecks to investments to accelerate diversification of the Nigerian economy during the 7th European Union (EU)-Nigeria Business Forum in Lagos on 4th October, 2018. The Forum took place at the Grand Ball Room of Eko Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos. Governor Akinwumi Ambode of Lagos State opened the event.
Since 2012, the EU-Nigerian Business Forum, jointly driven by the EU Delegation to Nigeria and the EU Member States, has served to address the obstacles affecting Nigeria’s business environment. The platform has enabled robust engagement among European and Nigerian businesses with Nigerian and EU policy makers on how to attract investment into the economy.
At this year’s event, specific sessions addressed issues surrounding business climate; certainty of Government policies; enforcement of contracts to attract the much needed FDI as well as leveraging Innovative Financial Instruments to attract investments to Nigeria. There was also a session to explore a strategy towards identifying the opportunities for Nigeria in the circular economy.
The 7th EU-Nigeria Business Forum was expected to raise awareness on the opportunities in Circular Economy; sensitize the private sector on Financial Instrument to support investments, including the opportunities in the External Investment Plan (EIP); improved business cooperation between EU and Nigeria businesses; and attract more investments in Nigeria.
To further build on the relationship with EU companies in Nigeria, the EU Delegation, the EU Member States and the European companies active in Nigeria have established a European Business Organisation (EBO). The EBO Nigeria will represent the voice of European companies across various sectors of the economy, and ensure a high-level policy dialogue with Nigerian authorities and organised private sector, with the objective of improving the business and investment climate and fostering business and trade relations between the EU and Nigeria. The EBO will be launched during the Forum.
The EU is Nigeria’s largest trading partner for oil and non-oil products with total trade at €25.3bn in 2017. EU Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) stock also stood at €39.6bn in 2016. The key to increased growth is hinged on ability of Nigeria to attract Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). However, statistics from UNCTAD show that Nigeria’s FDI flows have been on a steady decrease from an all-time high of $8.9bn in 2011 to $3.5bn in 2017.