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EU launches Agribusiness Platform to attract investors into Nigeria

by Business News Report

European Union, Delegation to Nigeria and Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, have launched the EU-Nigeria Agribusiness Platform, aimed at increasing private investments into the country’s agribusiness sector. The initiative will contribute to the reduction of food insecurity and poverty as well as the attainment of sustainable economic development in Nigeria.  The launch was done at the 9th Nigeria-EU Business Forum in Abuja, with the theme ‘Investing in jobs and sustainable future’.  The EU-Nigeria Agribusiness Platform will contribute to boosting the exploration and exploitation of agribusiness opportunities between Nigeria and the EU through the establishment and maintenance of a network of active members of agribusinesses across Nigeria and the EU. 

An agribusiness platform is a form of a digital agricultural platform that provides digital marketing, trading or investment space for commercial and transactional activities, interactions, communications, integrations and cooperation in the agri-food system and agro-industry between Nigerian and European SMEs. The EU-Nigeria Agribusiness Platform’s primary focus is to create linkages and interactions between Nigeria and EU agribusiness stakeholders especially amongst SMEs; promote trade and investment between both sides. It will be recalled by the Deputy Director General, Directorate of International Partnerships (INTPA), European Commission, Myriam Ferran, who said the idea for an agribusiness platform stems from the commitments of the November 2020 EU-Nigeria Ministerial Dialogue. In consultation with the government of Nigeria, it was decided to launch an EU-Nigeria Agri-business Platform as a structured dialogue between Nigerian and EU farming and agri-food communities, agricultural and agro-industrial sectors to promote trade and attract responsible investment, and to foster business linkages, particularly for SMEs.

Sustainable agriculture is a cornerstone for economic development and sustainable growth in Nigeria. The agricultural sector contributes around a quarter of the gross domestic product (GDP). Meanwhile, considering its importance, successive Nigerian governments have been striving to diversify the economy from its crude oil dependence by rejuvenating the agricultural sector through different agricultural policies and programmes in order to promote and propel the agricultural sector for enhanced productivity and increased agri-food commodity base. The volume of EU-Nigeria trade stood at €24.6bn in 2023 – 18.7 per cent lower than 2022. The EU remains Nigeria’s biggest trading partner, first investor, top donor of humanitarian and development aid, and the biggest diplomatic network. 

EU-Nigeria trade relations favours Nigeria, with crude oil contributing the most of the imports from Nigeria, but there is need to improve on non-oil trade between Nigeria and the European Union. Agribusiness Register Limited, a private sector entity conversant with the agribusiness ecosystem, will manage the EU-Nigeria Agribusiness Platform. The idea of handing over the platform to a private sector-led entity working in partnership with public and private sector stakeholders came out during a stakeholders’ consultative meeting in April 2023. The Agribusiness Register Limited, owners and managers of the Nigeria Agribusiness Register, will work with, and engage with selected agribusinesses, farmer groups, aggregators and other critical stakeholders. It will also nurture partnership and collaboration with EU implementing partners in the relevant space of agriculture, digital and entrepreneurship on one hand, with the relevant agencies of the government of Nigeria.  In particular, it will work with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, Federal Ministry of Industry Trade and Investment, Nigeria Export Promotion Council (NEPC), Standards Organisation of Nigeria, and the Ministry of Communication and Digital Economy.

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