©2010 Copyright The Embassy of Nigeria The Hague, The Netherlands
H.E. DR. (MRS.) NIMOTA AKANBI AMBASSADOR OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA TO THE
ROYAL KINGDOM OF THE NETHERLANDS’ WELCOME ADDRESS TO THE NIGERIA-NETHERLANDS
CHAMBER OF COMMERCE ON 22ND FEBRUARY 2010 IN LAGOS NIGERIA.
Distinguished members of the Lagos State House of Assembly
Ladies and Gentlemen
It is my privilege and honour to be amongst you as the leader of this august delegation in February, comprising of Dutch farmers, traders and chief executives of multi-national companies in food and beverages who have come to tap into the rich natural resources of our land which is fertile ground for agricultural products and also in the hardworking entrepreneurial spirit of our human resources. The main objective of this trade delegation is to provide ample opportunities for our Dutch Brothers and Sisters to see firsthand and explore the possibilities and potentials of our great Country Nigeria in the area of agriculture, manufacturing, energy, trade and service sectors.
Distinguished participants the Nigeria-Netherlands economic relations dates back to over a century old with Nigeria being the second largest trading partner of the Netherlands in Africa. The agrarian nature of the Nigeria economic pre-oil-boom-era just like the Netherlands is attracted so many Dutch Businesses in food and beverages. However the absence of a well structure economic partnership led to an imbalance in the relations over the years. Nevertheless, in a bid to fulfilling my economic mandate as the Ambassador of Nigeria to the Netherlands, underscore by the dynamics of the Current Administration’s 7 point agenda which has food security and the land reforms as part of its focal points, provoked a series of action on my part since the inception of my tour of duty in 2008, to strengthen the economic bridge between Nigerian and Dutch Business Community.
Distinguished ladies and Gentlemen, this is the second trade delegation that I am opportune to lead to Nigeria from the Netherlands. Between the first in 2008 and the second, I have organized an Investment forum for Nigerian Governors and Dutch Investors in collaboration with the Netherlands African Business Community (NABC). I have also organized creditable business partnerships and initiatives between the Nigerian private sector and several business groups in Netherlands in the last two years. The Successful outings of these projects gave grounds for the present Trade delegation in collaboration with the Dutch Economic Affairs Ministry to visit Nigeria.
Permit me to also inform you that the 2nd annual Netherlands business and investment forum for Governors/Dutch Business community tagged ‘Netherlands 2010’ is scheduled to hold in June and already investors and Dutch business mogul are practically knocking our doors down to participate as this years’ event promises to be even bigger and better. These projects past and current underlines the trail blazing efforts of the Embassy of Nigeria in the Hague in encouraging direct contact between the Nigerian business community and its Dutch Counterparts, a successful age long tradition that had been in practice by the first homo sapiens.
Fortunately Nigerian is a business haven for foreign investors and has the singular privilege of being the largest market in Africa due to its population. It is a strategic destination for investors and strategic to its business environment are the many incentives it has for the foreign Investor. The foreign investor either in agriculture, manufacturing, infrastructure or the service sector, is accorded full support in every way, demonstrated by the offer of huge expanse of rich fertile land at his disposal, juicing location in case he would like to set up a processing plant, raw materials, tax breaks, cheap labour, freedom to repatriate his profits, a large market and the goodwill of the people. . I am also happy to inform this distinguished gathering that there are already, substantial Dutch business presence in Nigeria such as Friesland Diary company technical partners of WAMCO makers of peak Milk and other products, Hieneken, Unilever, Shell Nigeria, KLM, Vlisco Holladis Wrapper enjoy huge patronage from the Nigerian market and many more.
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen in a world that is constantly challenged by global warming and its attendant effects, exploring environmentally friendly ways of generating energy and resources through the Agricultural sector is one of such ways of addressing the problem of climate change. The by-products of agricultural products can also be translated into other useful resources therefore nothing is wasted and our environment is preserved in the process
Consequently, this trade mission will take us through the rich natural resources and vibrant business cities of Lagos, Kwara, and Kano States. There will be face to face interaction with Dutch and Nigerian businessmen and farmers. In the next few days you will be part of the pulsating business environment of these cities and hopefully this will lead to successful deals and partnerships before the end of our mission. I urge you to take full advantage of this opportunity and make concrete business decisions. I promise you that you will never regret it.
In conclusion, let me reiterate that Nigeria is not only a business haven but also a tourist destination. With a vibrant market of a hundred and forty million people, the genuine businessman can never go wrong with his plans to invest in Nigeria, he would definitely break even. Nigeria either for business or pleasure is a Country to visit, to discover business as well as Leisure. With captivating landscapes, undulating hills, rolling savannah, mysterious rainforest and magical mangrove, add it up with warm friendly people and a vibrant economic environment, Nigeria is the place to be in the 21st century. While exploring business, I also welcome you to enjoy the pleasurable Nigerian Hospitality, which will be demonstrated to you in the next few days everywhere you go, on the streets and in conference rooms. Enjoy!