• Saturday, July 20, 2024
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EU commits €150bn transport investment to boost intra-African trade

EU woos Nigeria with elaborate trade deal

The European Union (EU) Commission has concluded plans to invest €150 billion in trade and transport infrastructure across West Africa with a special focus on the Lagos-Abidjan corridor.

Celine Lhoste, team lead of the EU Delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS, disclosed this on Monday in Lagos during a tripartite meeting between the Nigerian Shippers’ Council, EU delegation, and ECOWAS.

“There is an investment package of €150bn for Africa and West Africa is an important region where we are already investing a lot along the Lagos-Abidjan corridor,” she said.

The EU Commission said in a statement that the initiative, which is part of its Global Gateway Initiative, aims to eliminate about 80 extortion checkpoints between the Benin Republic Border and Lagos State.

Lhoste emphasised the EU’s commitment to supporting efforts to decongest Lagos ports and improve inland dry ports and expressed interest in facilitating coastal shipping between Cotonou and Lagos ports, which could significantly enhance trade between Nigeria and Benin.

“We are looking at possible investments to facilitate trade and transport along the corridor and in Lagos. The investment package under the global gateway initiative seeks to use various funding sources, including private sector contributions and grants, to lower the cost of investments,” she stated.

According to Lhoste, the EU is also in discussions with the Port of Antwerp to explore using barges to ease congestion and improve connections between seaports and hinterlands in Nigeria.

Jesus Gavilan, transport officer at the Directorate General International Partnership of the EU Commission, outlined the challenges along the Lagos-Abidjan corridor, such as the numerous checkpoints that hinder smooth transport between Benin and Nigeria.

“When you move from the Benin Border to Lagos, you can be stopped at least 20 times with 80 checkpoints. This is a big barrier for transport between the two countries,” he said.

Gavilan noted that the EU was working on a one-stop border post between Benin and Nigeria to streamline the passage of goods while adding that the border post needed to be fully operational with a lot needed for the smooth passage of goods.