Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, Maryam Yelwaji Katagum has said that the federal government was working towards increasing the non-oil trade volume between Nigeria and the United Arab Emirates.
The Minister said that non-oil trade volume stood at $1.45bn in 2019, as part of Nigeria’s economic diversification efforts.
The Minister said this at the Expo Dubai 2020 Media roundtable which held in Abuja on Thursday.
She encouraged businesses within the country to take advantage of the forthcoming Expo 2020 Dubai to meet the large demand for non-oil products in the United Arab Emirates.
TheFact Nigeria gathered that the journey to Dubai EXPO 2020 started in 2013 when the Bureau of International Exhibitions (BIE) conferred the hosting right to the city of Dubai, UAE holding initially in 2020, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the event is now scheduled from October 1, 2021 to March 31, 2022.
Katagum said: “With regards to non-oil trade volume between the two countries, as you know Nigeria is on the part of diversification so as we keep telling our entrepreneurs the UAE is an open market for Nigerian businesses, there is great demand for non-oil product. It is a big opportunity to fill in the demand gap.
This global event is themed: “Connecting Minds, Creating the World”.
She stated that the expo will provide a platform for enterprises in various sectors to showcase their products to the world.
Katagum said: “Similarly, Nigeria’s participation in Dubai 2020 EXPO is anchored on a theme: “Harnessing Opportunity, Creating the Future”. Nigeria aims to showcase the abundant natural and human resources available in the 36 States of the Federation and the FCT.
“To this end, critical sectors of the Nigerian economy such as Agriculture, Manufacturing, Creative Industry, our Culture and youthful generation would be showcased to the world to tap into abundant opportunities available and to benefit from the Expo.
“It should be noted that, Nigeria’s pavilion is located at the “Opportunity Zone” of Dubai EXPO 2020 in line with Nigeria’s theme statement. The Nigerian Pavilion tagged the “Opportunity City” is a rich showcase of life in Nigeria, the culture and people through unique narratives and media, spotlighting five avenues, namely: Resilience, Enterprising, Respectful, Hardworking, Tech and Sports.
“Each of the avenues depicts the uniqueness of Nigeria. For instance, the Resilience of the Giant of Africa is illustrated through its enduring industry and passion for work to make a better life. The Hardworking nature of Nigerians is illustrated through the Manufacturing sector where people create and take advantage of opportunities in the sector.
“Nigerians are Enterprising people and this could be seen in the creative industry such as Nollywood films, Fashion and Afro-beat music which continue to enjoy global box-office success and prestigious awards. Nigerians are known for rich cultural heritage and value systems which command global respect.
“The Tech and Sport avenue highlights the truly Nigerian cutting edge technology, transforming lives and providing solutions to many industry challenges. It is also a known fact, that Nigerians are sport lovers with abundant talents in various sports.
“The Nigerian pavilion is designed in Green, White and Green depicting our national colors. I am glad to inform you that Nigeria has completed Content Curation process, procurement of Exhibits and commercial retail items and shipping of artefacts to Dubai. In the meantime, internal installation is ongoing.
“It is pertinent to also note that, Nigeria has scheduled 23 customized events including: Trade and Investment Forum, Musical Concert, Women in Laughter, Football Friendly, Adire fashion show, Women-in-film, Art of recycling, Cultural performance, Dance shows and Find Your Place in the Food Chain among others. So far, all venues have been booked.”
Director of Trade in the Ministry, Mr. Aliyu Abubakar said that while the Federal Government had developed frameworks and forums of engagement that would promote higher non-oil exports to the UAE, a lot more needs to be done to expand trade between both countries.
He said: “We have a major policy goal which is diversification of the economy. So we want to promote non-oil exports to United Emirates and already we have a framework of engagement, and also different forums for engagement.
“We can do more, one of the things we can do is inward and outward trade delegations between the two countries. Nigeria going to the UAE and Emirates coming here to do business”
The Director, Commodity and Export Department in the Ministry, Mr. Suleman Audu, said that the Dubai forum was another good opportunity for states and Small and Medium Enterprises to cement business relationship.
The Director said that the participation of Nigerian businesses at the forthcoming Dubai Expo could fetch the country a whopping sum of $23bn.
The UAE Ambassador to Nigeria, His Excellency, Dr. Fahad Obaid Al Taffaq said that grants worth thousands of dollars would be provided to Small and Medium Enterprises, (SMEs) to develop innovative ideas and University students would benefit for research purposes.
Al Taffaq said: “With regards to SMEs expo, it has a component called Expo lite. Within these components, there are various programmes, where participants submit their proposals are provided with grants of $100,000 each, to bring innovation ideas to the programme.
“There is also the University innovation programme, which provides grants of $50,000 to university students to research and develop solution to some of the world’s problems.”