INTERVIEW – AMBASSADOR OF NIGERIA TO BELGIUM – H.E. Obinna Chiedu Onowu

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What is your impression of the current socio-economic situation in Nigeria?

The Nigerian economy is steadily recover-ing from the recession in 2020, induced by external shocks and COVID 19 pandemic. The rebound is driven by positive performance in the non-oil sectors such as trade, agriculture, ICT, health, services. I believe this trend will be sustained by the implementation of the Federal Government’s Flagship programme – the Economic Growth and Sustainability Plan, and now, the National Development Plan 2021 – 2025, in
addition to policy initi-atives like the Ease of Doing Business by the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC). There are several social intervention programmes introduced by the Federal Government including cash transfers, to improve the welfare of Nigerians.

How do you view the bilateral relations between Belgium and Nigeria?

Nigeria and Belgium enjoy excellent bilateral relations. Both countries share common view on several global issues including, human rights, climate change, fight against terrorism and peaceful resolution of conflicts. Belgium is also, a strategic trade partner for Nigeria. The recently released foreign trade report for Q1 2022 by the National Bureau of Statistics of Nigeria indicates that Belgium ranks among the top five countries of origin of imports to Nigeria. There is a strong commitment on both sides to consolidate trade relations and strengthen institutional collaboration.

What are the key sectors in which you would advise Belgian investors to invest in Nigeria?

Nigeria has abundant natural resources. The key sectors, with strong prospect for Belgian investors include agribusiness, manufactur-ing, creative sector, innovation and tech-nology, oil and gas, education, transport, logistics, green energy as well as health.

Your Embassy is the first point of contact for Belgians who are here. How do you help them? Are there other agencies that are important to be in contact with?

The Embassy is operating an open door pol-icy to Belgians and their businesses, as well as Luxembourg to which the Embassy is also accredited. We endeavour to welcome and assist prospective Belgian businesses with important information, and advise on the business environment in Nigeria. We also address trade complaints and facilitate con-tacts with organized private sector in Nigeria. Upon my assumption of duty in Belgium, I had the privilege of meeting several Belgian businesses in September during an event organized by the Belgian Luxembourg Nigeria Chamber of Commerce (BLNCC), a partner of the Mission. We have maintained good contacts with A-Law firm and Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture, Belgium Luxembourg – Africa, Caribbean, Pacific (CBL-ACP), as means of promoting people to people contact between Nigeria and Belgium. I would also advise any pro-spective investor in Nigeria to contact the Focal Nigerian government agency for for-eign investment, the Nigerian Investment Promotion Council (NIPC) through its One-Stop Investment Centre (OSIC), which brings together relevant government agencies to one location and provide fast-tracked ser-vices to new investors.