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With Liz Truss setting out Britain’s post-Brexit future, Helen Grant Tory MP for Maidstone and The Weald and trade envoy to Nigeria claimed a trade deal with the country could be significant for UK plc. Referencing her desire to “bang the drum” for UK trade abroad, Ms Grant boasted of Nigeria’s emerging economy – the largest in Africa – and the impact it could have for British business in terms of financial services, agriculture and tech. Upon returning to the UK following a recent visit to Nigeria, Ms Grant also revealed the “goodwill towards the UK”, in the state.
Speaking to Express.co.uk, Ms Grant said: “As I’ve settled into this role, I’ve also found that the best way to persuade Nigeria’s government and businesses to support UK business, is to explain and show how this is often also good for Nigeria.
“Traditionally oil and gas has been Nigeria’s most important sector and that will remain so for some time.
“But Nigeria’s government realises that its economy must diversify for climate and sustainability, as well as economic reasons.
“That’s why it’s also good business for the UK Government to support Nigeria’s efforts to reform in critical areas such as the power sector, improving the business environment or speeding up customs clearance.”
Although the Nigerian economy is the largest on the continent, it is also one of the fastest-growing.
While oil has been a driver of that success and stands at 10 percent of its economy, the tech industry is booming in the state.
Indeed, the tech sector accounts for over 15 percent of the economy and is set to have a greater role over the next few years in the country.
Due to the growing tech industry and demand for UK goods and services, Ms Grant claimed greater trade ties with the state will fit perfectly for Boris Johnson’s goal for ‘Global Britain’.
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Ms Grant, who is of British and Nigerian heritage, said: “Oil now accounts for less than 10 percent of Nigeria’s economy.
“Readers may be surprised to hear that is lower than Nigeria’s thriving tech sector, which contributes over 15 percent to the economy.
“So the other important message for the UK is that Nigeria’s economy offers many opportunities beyond oil and gas.
“In addition to tech, agriculture, energy, infrastructure and financial services are all promising.
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“UK expertise and know-how in these sectors can boost Nigeria’s economy and, in turn, create more demand for British goods and services.
“There is huge goodwill towards the UK in Nigeria.
“People often tell me how much they would like to see more UK companies coming into the Nigerian market.
“And for all the challenges, we’ve so much in common – legal systems, time zones, a love of music, fashion and culture, major financial centres, and not forgetting football.”
At the turn of 2020, Boris Johnson hosted the UK-Africa investment summit.
The summit was also held at the start of 2021, albeit virtually, as the UK targets Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Ethiopia and Kenya.
Commenting on trade with Africa, UK Minister for Investment Lord Gerry Grimstone said: “Despite the current global economic context, the UK’s ambition to be Africa’s investment partner of choice has never been stronger.
“Growing investment relationships will be central in helping economies recover and build back better from the disruption caused by Coronavirus.
“Africa’s economic potential and investment opportunities are huge, and our partnership will help ensure UK and African businesses are able to capitalise on trade and investment opportunities, now and in the future.”
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