From: ABBA BASHIR & Abdullah Bello
President Bola Tinubu has called for the strengthening of cross-sectoral partnership between Nigeria and the European Union, EU, based on the principles of democracy, rule of law, and freedom.
Receiving a delegation of the Union, led by Ms. Jutta Urpilainen, its Commissioner in charge of International Partnerships, the President welcomed the signing of 8 financing agreements between Nigeria and the EU, under the EU Global Gateway in Nigeria, at a separate event in Abuja.
“Democracy is not an easy process, but we must fight for democracy and struggle for it to win at all times,” the President said.
President Tinubu, who emphasised the importance of economic co-operation with the EU in the areas of digital education, traditional energy, renewable energy, and broadband access, equally told the visiting delegation that Nigeria’s economy was going through several long-lasting reforms to render it capable of pulling millions of Nigerians out of poverty.
“We have a young and vibrant population, and we are determined to succeed. If we succeed, democracy succeeds. If we succeed, freedom succeeds,” he said.
“We need all of our partners’ hands on deck to sail together. We look forward to strengthening our partnerships.”
The EU Commissioner in charge of International Partnerships had commended Nigeria for playing a pivotal role as a key partner of the EU, not only in politics and economics, but also in shaping the social landscape across the African continent.
She explained that over the past 4 years, the EU had been working to transform the nature of its relationship with Africa by shifting away from the traditional donor-recipient dynamic.
The EU Commissioner said the Union was seeking to establish an equal and mutually-beneficial partnership through the Global Gateway Investment Programme as a flagship example.
She noted that the strategy agreed at the AU-EU Summit in Brussels last year, had set a goal of 300 billion Pounds Sterling in investments, with 150 billion Poungs allocated to Africa.
Thanking President Tinubu for the important role Nigeria played in supplying key energy products during its standoff with Russia in recent times, the EU Commissioner noted that the oil & gas partnership could be expanded, adding that the Global Gateway Strategy is designed to expedite the green and digital transformations in EU partner countries, with Nigeria standing as one of its most strategic.
”We are investing in critical infrastructure such as energy, transportation, and digital infrastructure, as well as in human capital, education, and research,” she said.