Brexit trade bonanza: UK eying ‘absolutely huge’ Nigeria deal – Truss aims for ANOTHER win

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Now free from the EU, Helen Grant, trade envoy to Nigeria and Tory MP for Maidstone and The Weald, said the UK was on the cusp of an ambitious era of trade with the major African state. Nigeria is Africa’s largest and fastest-growing economy and is being targeted by the UK for an ambitious trade agreement. Due to its economic size, Ms Grant claimed there were wide opportunities to increase UK plc in multiple areas such as tech, financial services, agriculture and green technologies.

Speaking to Express.co.uk, Ms Grant revealed any future deal may well surpass the current £3.4billion in trade between the UK and Nigeria.

She said: “I’m not gonna put a finger on it, but I think it could be absolutely huge.”

Although Ms Grant refused to be drawn on when a free trade agreement may be signed, she did admit there is plenty to come between the UK and Nigeria.

She said: “I know we’re trading with Nigeria under the generalised scheme of preferences.

“It’s much simpler and more generous than the EU version.

“There is more to come on that. I also do get the strong feeling that we, of course, would be open to discussing an FTA with other West African countries.

“And I think the fact that you know, Nigeria is now at the helm of the WTO, I think that will be very helpful.

“And the fact that Nigeria has signed the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, I think all of these factors are, are of assistance.

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“So you know, watch that space.”

While Nigeria has predominantly relied on oil within its economy, the state is developing rapidly in the tech industry which now accounts for 15 percent of its total economy.

The Nigeria economy also grew by 2.2 percent according to the IMF in 2019 and is expected to bounce back strongly from the pandemic.

UK expertise in engineering and science has also begun to shift the Nigerian government away from its dependence on oil.

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Indeed, the Nigerian government’s Economic Growth and Recovery Plan has outlined 60 initiatives.

These are centred on agriculture, industrialisation, energy and social investment, creating more opportunities within increased public-private partnerships.

In order to strengthen relationships with the state and other African nations, the UK hosted the first investment summit last year.

Due to this, commercial deals of over £6.5billion were signed and spanned several sectors including energy, retail and tech.

The second UK-Africa summit was held this year, albeit in a scaled-back fashion, as Boris Johnson declared the continent as a key trading partner.

Indeed, the Prime Minister said: “One thing that absolutely has not changed is my ambition for the UK to be Africa’s investment partner of choice.”

While the UK has not signed a trade deal with Nigeria yet, the Government has inked 13 other agreements and is hoping to build on the £35-billion African trade relationship.

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