• Wednesday, May 22, 2024
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Analysts tip private, public sectors fund pool for MDGs

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Analysts have tipped the creation of a private and public sectors fund pool as a more realistic approach to finance the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) targeted for 2015.

The eight MDGs ranging from halving extreme poverty rates to halting the spread of HIV/AIDS and providing universal primary education, among others, have been severely challenged by low financing from the public sector.

Hence, analysts say a more concrete approach of tackling this financing shortfall will be through a new global financing model that will blend both public and private funding in meeting the MDGs.

“Private sector investment has become crucial in driving the MDGs,” Michel Arrion, ambassador, head of European Union’s delegation to Nigeria and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), told newsmen at the third EU-Nigeria Business forum recently held in Lagos.

Arrion said that considering the pivotal role of the private sector in infrastructure, energy and value adding chains in the agricultural sector of the EU-Africa trade relations, the sector had surged the trade volume between the EU and Nigeria to its N8.5 trillion.

According to him, EU exports to Nigeria is pegged at N2.5 trillion, while its import from Nigeria is valued at N6 trillion with the EU still the biggest market for both Nigeria’s oil and non-oil exports such as leather, cocoa, sesame, etc.

The EU, which is the country’s most important trading partner, has also seen its Foreign Direct Investment grow from N5.3 trillion in 2011 to N5.7 trillion in 2012.

This milestone, Arrion believes can be replicated in the quest to actualise the MDGs, if the private sector is effectively partnered with.

David Heath, the UK’s prime minister trade envoy to Nigeria, on his part revealed that the EU was enthusiastic in partnering Nigeria to deepen the existing trade relation, which he said was already benefiting Nigeria immensely.

Heath however highlighted that while most African countries had continued to enjoy free export duty to European countries, they were yet to leverage on it because they have nothing to export.

This, he said, is gradually informing the decision of some foreign investors to invest in Nigeria and consequently supply the regional market. He further pointed out that the trade relation between the EU and Nigeria was evolving across the sectors, saying “investors are increasingly going beyond the stage of questioning if they want to set up plants or just buy and sell in Nigeria, they are beginning to find partnerships for long-term investment opportunities.”

Michael Purves, director, UK Trade and Investment (UKTI), said the new platform created by the EU-Nigerian forum clearly signified that the EU was not limiting its partnership to its member states but also willing to deepen trade relations with countries such as Nigeria.

The forum, tagged ‘Time for private sector,’ was aimed at identifying few sectors such agriculture and power where Nigeria businesses together with international partners, private investors at local, regional and international level can chart a course going forward.

ODINAKA MBONU