Rwanda- Nigeria trade summit to kick off next week in Lagos
An estimated 100 people from Rwanda are expected to attend an Economic summit due in Lagos next week. The Nigerian-Rwandan Economic summit will take place from May 9 to 14 and is expeted to boost cooperation for the two sides.“Going to Nigeria is very crucial for us exporters, if we take products that can be bought, then it gives us an opportunity to do business,” Janet Nkubana, the chairperson of the Exporters Association, told The New Times in an exclusive interview.
Nkubana underscored that the Nigerian market would create another opening for exporters to boost their businesses, noting there is need to assess particular products the huge market needs and look at the production capacity to quantify the ability to satisfy it.
“If all provinces and districts are sensitised to produce particular products, I believe we can be able to satisfy this huge market,” she said.
Nevertheless, trade experts emphasise the importance of critically assessing the needs of the Nigerian market in order to fully tap its potential.
Clementine Vervelde Murekatete of Limitless Minds Africa, explained that they are hoping to hold a business summit where businesspersons will explore potential investment opportunities in Nigeria. “The idea is to see which sector people are involved in and connect them to the same sectors in Nigeria,” she noted.
She added that the summit would include among others a gala cultural business evening code-named ‘Embark-East Africa meeting West Africa’, a business exhibition and auctioning art work, business diner, sector to sector networking and tour around Nigeria’s sectors.
“We don’t need to have a lot of money to invest in Nigeria, you have to take a risk but you get big returns on your investments as well,” she added.
The summit is organised by Limitless Minds Africa in partnership with Lagos State, Nigerian Economic Summit and the Rwandan Embassy in Nigeria with over 30 companies from Nigeria expected to take part.
Frank Nweke Jr, Director General Nigeria Economic Group, is optimistic the market will provide a win-win situation and promote cultural tourism, trade, and technological cooperation. As one of the leading food importers in the world, Nigeria spends N635 bn (US$ 4bn) on wheat imports, N356 bn (US$2.3bn) on rice, N217 bn (US$1.4bn) on sugar and N97 bn (US$617m) on fish, according to the country’s statistics in 2010.
This could expand Rwanda’s market share, especially for agricultural products. Moreover, the Nigerian market could boost the country’s fragile export receipts and close its trade deficit that stands at 33.9 per cent. Import receipts are growing to US$1.5bn against US$743.5m export receipts, according to Ministry of Trade statistics. The cooperation will achieve great success with the efforts of the two countries.
Nigeria’s President Jonathan Goodluck visit to the country in October last year harnessed the bilateral partnership between the two nations and this year’s visit by a Nigerian business delegation added the impetus which could open up the 150 million Nigeria market for Rwanda’s goods. RwandAir, the national carrier last year launched direct flights to Lagos, as part of its efforts to grab a bigger slice of Africa’s aviation market. And yesterday, Cabinet approved the Nigerian Ambassador to be based in Kigali.
Contact email: dias.nyesiga[at]newtimes.co.rw