Nigeria, Guinea explore joint business pact

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Nigeria and Guinea are exploring prospects for an agreement to promote a joint investment drive for the development of key sectors in their economies.

At a meeting between Guinean president, Alpha Conde, and the managing director, Nigeria Export-Import Bank (NEXIM), Roberts Orya, discussions focused on trade partnerships between Guinean businessmen and women and their Nigeria counterparts to boost non-oil exports of the two countries.

It was gathered that the areas being considered for such partnership include manufacturing, solid minerals, mining, transport and aviation, as well as hotel and tourism.

Nigeria is reputed to be the world’s sixth largest exporter of oil and gas, while Guinea controls more than 25 per cent of the world’s bauxite reserves, apart from a healthy deposit of other natural resources, including diamond,
gold, and other precious metals.

According to Mr Conde, though bauxite and alumina are currently the only major exports from Guinea, the country has great potentials for the development of hydroelectric power as well as other industries, including beer, juice,
soft drinks, and tobacco processing plants, with agriculture employing about 80 per cent of the country’s work force.

During the meeting arranged by Guinean ambassador to Nigeria, Cheick Abdoul Camara, at Mr Orya’s instance, Mr Conde expressed readiness to work with NEXIM Bank to attract Nigerian investors to take advantage of his country’s
natural resources, to rejuvenate the moribund manufacturing sector.

Aviation

The Guinean president identified the aviation sector as one area that requires urgent attention, pointing out that he would be interested in opening the country’s skies to Nigeria airline operators, as there is neither an official carrier nor direct flight links between the Nigeria and Guinea at present.

The presence of a national airline, he pointed out, would be a huge boost to trade facilitation in the country with other countries in the region, saying the proposed NEXIM Bank’s ECOWAS sea-link project is one ingenious initiative that is capable to help achieve the objectives of the Protocol on Free Movement of Persons, Goods and Services within the
sub-region when operational.

The president said his administration is looking forward to receiving a trade delegation from Nigeria, under the auspices of NEXIM Bank, billed to visit Conakry on or before next September to move forward discussions on business
opportunities in the country.

Non-oil sector growth

Earlier, Mr Orya had told the Guinean president that as Nigeria’s only trade policy bank, NEXIM has the responsibility to provide finance, risk bearing, as well as trade information and value-added business advisory services to
companies engaged in the production of goods and services, to facilitate the diversification of the country’s exports, particularly in the non-oil sectors.

He said NEXIM Bank, pursuant to its mandate, is targeting operations in four critical sectors of the economy under its MASS Agenda, namely manufacturing, agriculture, solid minerals and advisory services.

Specifically, Mr Orya said he would want to see trade partnership agreements consummated between Guinean businessmen and their Nigeria counterparts in the transportation sector (aviation, marine and the ECOWAS sea-link
project), tourism, as well as hotel chain management.

“There is so much that Guinea and Nigeria could achieve together for the promotion of employment opportunities for their teeming populations, as well as curb poverty if the governments of both countries could provide the amenable
business and investment climate through sound economic policies for the private sector entrepreneurs,” Mr Orya said.

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