Amato tutors Nigerians how EU development cooperation activities contributing to economic growth and job creations

Filippo Amato, Trade Counsellor, Head of the Trade Economic Section, EU Delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS who came down heavily on the Nigerians at MAN Kano Roundtable Discussion tagged Leveraging on China-Nigeria Economic Relations to Re-Industrialise the Economy organised by Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) recently saying let me add some last remarks about how the development cooperation activities of the EU in Nigeria are contributing to economic growth and job creationMr Amato listed 11 steps that EU have used to supports Nigeria economy and even plan to refocus on impact of their activities on standard of living in the country and west Africa inclusive. They are:

*The EU plays a key role in providing support to private sector development, business environment and trade facilitation in Nigeria and in the ECOWAS region. Under the 10th and 11th EDF the EU is funding a number of regional programmes covering: Economic Integration and Private Sector Development (10th EDF in cooperation with the World Bank Group, GIZ and UNIDO) and Trade Facilitation and Competitiveness (11th EDF).

*Under the WA Competitiveness Programme, the Nigeria component, implemented by GIZ, is a 11 million Euro project that seeks to improve competitiveness and exports through value chain development. The project is implemented in 7 states including Kano and it focuses on 4 value chains namely: tomato (including pepper and chilli), ginger, leather and garments. The project is targeted at improving the performance and growth of farmers and industry/processors, including contributions to regional and global exports in the selected value chains and improving the climate for businesses at national and regional levels.

*It is worth to mention that under the 10th EDF, the EU has funded a Nigerian Competitiveness Support Programme that, among its success stories, has:

  1. Improved the business environment in Kaduna and Kano states,
  2. Supported the Nigerian government and the National Assembly in the adoption of a Competition and Consumer Protection Bill, which as you know has been recently signed by the President
  3. Contributed to the establishment of a National Quality Infrastructure in Nigeria, including
    • The drafting of a National Quality Policy
    • The establishment, and incorporation of a National Accreditation board which is now operational;
    • The construction of a National Metrological Institute in Enugu;
    • The establishment of National Technical Regulation bodies;
    • The organisation of a Nigeria National Quality Award in line with the ECOWAS quality award process.

*In the area of business environment and business climate, in addition to the study mapping the European companies in Nigeria, the EU delegation is also preparing, in cooperation with the EBO, a study on the trade and investment bottlenecks as perceived by European Business, as well as some EU Business position papers. We intend to present this at the 8th edition of the EU-Nigeria Business Forum in October-November of this year in Lagos.

*A number of private sector development activities are funded by intra-ACP programmes. These include the COLEACP Fit For Market programme and the TradeComII programme. The COLEACP programme is providing support to producers of horticultural products willing to export their products to Europe, while the TradeCommII programme is about to support the NEPC in capacity building for a number of Nigerian SMEs willing to export cocoa, cashew, and sesame products to Europe

*In the Power sector, the EU is providing a comprehensive package to support both the improvement of the public sector-led interventions and boost the investments from the private sector (165m EUR under the 11th EDF). In this sector, blending operations are meant to play a key role. Out of the total amount, 98 million are for blending operations that look at investing across the whole value chains. The EU supported blending operations deal with both on-grid and off-grid investments with a combination of support to the public sector and to private operators. Nigeria also benefits from innovative financing mechanisms like Electrification Financing Initiative (ElectriFI) – a flexible financial facility managed by the Association of European Development Finance Institutions (EDFI) supporting investments that increase and/or improve access to modern, affordable and sustainable energy services, and the AFD SUNREF initiative financing green investments. ElectriFI has just been launched in Lagos on Tuesday.

*The European Investment Bank (EIB) has also made significant investments in the country.  Since 2010, the EIB has disbursed EUR 296 million under 7 facilities signed with 9 Nigerian banks, of which EUR 210 million was disbursed to 50 sub-projects for on-lending in foreign currency, averaging EUR 4.5 million per project. The sectors covered include wholesale & retail trade, education, manufacturing, construction, transportation, accommodation, human health, information & communication, electricity & gas, agriculture, scientific & technical activities.

*In 2018 the EIB provided EUR 17 million equity participation into the newly established Development Bank of Nigeria, which is intended for financial intermediaries on-lending mainly to MSMEs in local currency.

*The EIB also invests in African private equity and venture capital funds to support the local private sector (SMEs and Mid-Caps) to create sustainable jobs. These interventions include intermediated products through commitments to Funds managed by a dedicated team of investment professionals, where a team deploys a fund into portfolio of underlying companies, monitors and eventually exits portfolio. This type of interventions provides a higher impact and higher catalytic effect for the EIB, bringing on board other investor commitments. It helps diversify the portfolio with a more hands-on approach by the fund manager. In Nigeria, the EIB currently has EUR 87 million committed through funds, making it Number 1 among the ACP countries in terms of the amounts invested into SMEs and Mid-Caps. Since 2003, these investments have been made into 90 companies, of which EUR 850 million have been indirect investments and EUR 113 million direct investments. The present portfolio includes 65 companies*In the framework of the Europe-Africa Alliance that I mentioned at the introduction of my intervention, the EU has been working on the implementation of European Investment Plan (EIP), one of the instruments of which is the establishment of a European Fund for Sustainable Development, which will provide guarantees to facilitate and de-risk investments in five thematic areas: “Sustainable Energy and Connectivity”, “Micro, Small and Medium Sized Enterprises Financing”, “Sustainable Agriculture, Rural Entrepreneurs and Agribusiness”, “Sustainable Cities” and “Digital for Development”.

*The EU Delegation will organise focused and targeted workshops in the coming months explaining who and how can benefit from these new guarantee instruments to invest in the country.

Amato concluded saying, I hope MAN will organise a future event on how to leverage on this partnership as well to re-Industrialise the Nigerian economy.

 

The Caption Photo: Filippo Amato, Trade Counsellor, Head of the Trade Economic Section, EU Delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS

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