The British Deputy High Commissioner, in Lagos, Ben Llewellyn-Jones, has said Nigeria remains one of the strongest trading partners of the United Kingdom (UK) in the West African region.
He stated this with the arrival of the HMS TRENT, a UK Royal Navy vessel in Lagos which signals renewed trading interest in Nigeria as the UK recently dropped from first to the fifth-largest non-oil goods exporter to Nigeria, behind China, the US, India and Germany.
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The UK’s share of its Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) stock in Nigeria has also decreased from close to less than two per cent in 2005 and 2014. This can be attributed to the growing importance of China and India in global trade.
But the British Deputy High Commissioner, during a visit to the Flag Officer Commanding (FOC), Western Naval Command, along with the captain and the crew of HMS TRENT, said the presence of the British warship is to deepen the existing economic relationship between both nations.
“Nigeria is not just a commonwealth nation, but one of our strongest allies in West Africa. So, part of the cooperation we have is to try and understand how to build on that. Expand on our defence links and also strengthen our trade and expand our economic link as well,” he added.
The FOC Western Naval Command Rear Admiral Jason Gbassa, noted that it’s been quite a while since Nigeria received a team or delegation, particularly a naval warship from the UK to the country’s waters.
“We have been engaging in areas of training where our personnel attend courses in your country. We’ve also been engaging in areas of training where some of your personnel have been involved in our training. Going forward, we intend to have a joint exercise involving our ships and our air assets and HMS TRENT.”