The Canadian Trade Commissioner to Nigeria, Temitayo Dada, has said Nigeria is Canada’s largest trading partner in Africa with $2.67bn in bilateral merchandise trade.
She disclosed this during the Canada-Nigeria Trade Mission’s Event 2022 Agenda organised by Africa Canada Trade and Investment Venture in Lagos.
Dada said, “Nigeria is undeniably a key strategic partner for Canada on the continent and promoting trade and relations between Canada and Nigeria is a priority of the Canadian government.
“In 2021, Nigeria became Canada’s largest trading partner in Africa with $2.7bn in bilateral merchandise trade. That same year, Canadian merchandise imports from Nigeria amounted to $2.1bn, with Canada’s export to Nigeria totalling $605.4m.”
She added, “I am convinced that we have only touched the surface in terms of our trade potential and events like this can help grow the relationship. To date, Canada’s imports from Nigeria have included mineral fuels and oils, cocoa, rubber, and lead and our primary export to Nigeria are manufacturing equipment, wheat, aircraft, and cars.”
She further said, “The government of Canada is working with our Nigerian partners on the trade policy fronts to enhance market access and create a more enabling environment for business. We recently finalised negotiations on air transport agreement and hope to ratify it soon. This will make travel between Nigeria and Canada easier and strengthen people-to-people ties.”
According to her, technical discussions on establishing a foreign investment protection agreement have resumed, adding that this will increase the flow of investment between the two countries.
Also speaking at the event, the Head, Legal, DeltaAfrik Engineering Limited, Olubukola Adesida, said, “Speaking from the legal angle, we have had about the potential for investments and partnerships. However, based on my years of experience, I understand that the first hurdle businessmen usually have is respect to choosing credible business partners and considering that fact that the upcoming partners are coming from the Diaspora.”
She said, “The first thing is how do I choose credible Nigerian partners? How do we navigate that very tricky space because Nigeria’s documentation repository is still upcoming, and we will also have to applaud the Corporate Affairs Commission.
She added, “For example, they have beefed up certain information with their record keeping and things are getting better. You can do a desktop search now and check-up the profile of a potential partner.
However, going beyond the desktop search, you now want to look at how you can have a lasting contractual partnership. There must be a detailed due diligence exercise on such potential partners. After the partnership, what do you leverage on.”
Meanwhile, the Chief Executive Officer, Africa Canada Trade and Investment Venture, Mr. Kenneth Oguzie, who gave the opening address, said, “My vision to set up ACTIV about eight years ago was borne out of the fact of making an impact; even though we live in the Diaspora, no matter what we do we must look back about what we left behind.
The Director of International Affairs, Lagos Chambers of Commerce, Temitope Akintunde, also spoke on the relationship between Nigeria and Canada.
“If we look at some of the bilateral agreements between Canada and Nigeria, they have been agreements on taxation, health, etc. Some of them have not been ratified and this shows opportunities,” Akintunde noted.