Investors from the United Arab Emirates have pledged $2bn worth of investments into the Nigerian mining sector as the aftermath of the Africa-UAE Trade and Investment forum.
A statement from the Foreign Investment Network, the organisers of the forum, revealed that the investment commitments were made through the office of the past ruler of Abu Dhabi, UAE, Sheikh Hamdan bin Khalifa, at the event held in Dubai.
The donations would further cement the trade and bilateral relations between Nigeria and the UAE, the statement quoted the Khalifa and Global Peace Ambassador, United Nations, Zulfiquar Ghadiyali, as saying.
The Governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, according to the statement, canvassed for more investments in Nigeria at the event.
The Minister of State, Mines and Steel Development, Mr Uchechukwu Ogah, was quoted as expressing gratitude to Khalifa over the amount he pledged for Nigeria’s sustainable development drive.
The Chairman of FIN, Mrs Olayinka Fayomi, described Africa as one of the most important markets for the UAE.
She explained that the event was designed to consolidate and expand business and investment synergy between Africa and the UAE, and open windows of opportunities where international investors and project financing institutions could connect with existing infrastructure and investments gaps in Africa.
She said, “Just recently, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, singled out Africa as one of the most promising business partners for Dubai in the coming years.
“According to data recently released by UAE’s Ministry of Foreign Trade, UAE’s overall trade with six non-Arab African countries like Angola, Kenya, Nigeria, Ethiopia, South Africa and Tanzania reached eight billion dollars in 2020.
“The UAE – Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa trade volume is expected to attract an estimated 600 million consumers by 2025.
According to her, it is estimated that the UAE’s total non-oil trade with Africa is worth $25bn – and this figure is expected to further rise in coming years.
Fayomi said, “UN COMTRADE database on international trade showed that European Union exports to UAE was $30.02bn in 2020; the United States goods trade surplus with UAE was $15.6bn in 2019; UAE imports from China was $39.37bn in 2020 while its imports from Japan was $9.46bn in 2020.
“However, Africa still has only 18 per cent trade share with UAE, the lowest when compared with other partners. Experts have argued that the poor trade relationship between Africa and UAE is majorly slowed by poor infrastructure.”
She noted that this meant Africa was in dire need of massive investments into critical infrastructure and the UAE had the capacity and technology to help the continent through private sector investment.