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AICEP
Agência para o Investimento e Comércio Externo de Portugal

CABEÇALHO

President Muhammadu Buhari’s state visit to Lisbon, Portugal, is expected to lead to the acceleration of the nation’s economic growth, securing the country, attracting investment and creating jobs.

This was disclosed by one of the President’s media aide, Garba Shehu via his Twitter handle on Monday.

 

According to him, there are 10 ways the nation can benefit from the strategic partnership visit, which held from Wednesday 28th June to 2nd July 2022.

 

Highlights of the 10 benefits of the visit

  • There can be no better illustration of the larger strategic goal of the future of this relationship than the eight agreements and Memoranda Of Agreement, MOUs signed in the course of this visit. These are the MOU on political consultations, diplomatic training, research and exchange of information and documentation; cooperation in the field of culture; in the field of women and girls development, empowerment and gender affairs; youths and in the area of sports.
  • The visit achieved a desire for a strategic partnership to strengthen the work Nigeria has been praised for doing by all levels of Portuguese authority- President, Prime Minister, President of National Assembly and Mayor of Lisbon-which is her stabilizing role in West Africa and importantly for the hosts, the stability and support of the ex-Portuguese territories in the subregion, specifically Guinea Bissau and São Tomé and Principe. This is resonating very well with the Portuguese.
  • Invariably linked to this is the convergence of strategic interests and the laying of a framework to strengthen security and cooperation between the two states. Portugal which has an association with its former territories in Africa, the equivalent of our own British Commonwealth made up of Angola and Cape Verde in addition to the two other states mentioned.
  • Nigeria and Portugal have equally identified a common interest and goal in the transatlantic gas pipeline for which our country needs investment and security. This is with a view to finding a market in Europe for the enormous gas resources available to us. After listening to a briefing on the pipeline by Mele Kyari, the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited, President Marcelo de Sousa was quick to show interest in the maritime mapping of the gas pipeline, instead of the Trans Saharan pathway which is equally an option. Portugal, says President Sousa has chosen for itself, the role of the spokesman and defender of African interests in the EU.
  • The Kano-Maradi railway line being constructed by a Portuguese company, Mota-Engil, is turning out to be a significant factor in the emerging relations between our countries. Despite President Buhari’s emphasis at several speaking opportunities that the contractor met all requirements to beat others to get the job, the Portuguese authorities see it not only as a milestone in trade relations but also as a trailblazer and a precursor to the evolution of Nigeria as the gateway to the vast African market opened up by the African Continental Free Trade Area, AfCFTA. President Sousa spoke about their wish for the entry into the Nigerian market of Portuguese companies, “not in 30s or 100, but in their thousands.”
  • Portugal, which was a strong force in the UN recognition of Nigeria as one of five centres for vaccine production in Africa has determined to key into our health sector. They will come in. It’s a country with a very strong pharmaceutical economy.
  • In the choice of Jose Peseiro, the Portuguese coach of the Super Eagles, Nigeria struck yet another positive cord that resonates politically and diplomatically. Even before the advent of coach Peseiro, there are more than 200 professional football players of Nigerian origin in Portugal.
  • There is also a welcome plan to share the achievements of Portugal in the field of renewable energy. With 60 percent of their energy got from renewable sources, that country ranks among the world leaders, hoping to reach carbon neutrality by 2030.
  • We have now an MOU on political consultations, diplomatic training, research and exchange of information and documentation. This will see our two nations working hand in hand at multilateral institutions including the UN. Portugal prides herself with experience in international relations.
  • Lastly is the important thing about the very strong alignment of strategic interests of both countries. It’s rare to see this anywhere. The commitment to be with Nigeria is everywhere: All levels of authority in the country: President, Prime Minister, President of the National Assembly, and Mayor of Lisbon showing a total commitment to align with Nigeria. President Sousa in his second term said “I waited six years for this marriage.”

Bottom line

For President Buhari, this visit is an affirmation of the norm that global aspirations must be accompanied by global engagements and a demonstration of his determination to turn commitments into actions.

Hopefully, these will lead to the acceleration of the nation’s economic growth, securing the country, attracting investment and creating jobs, as expected.

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