United Arab Emirates (UAE) has expressed its readiness to strengthen ties with Nigeria in a bilateral trade relation, as trade volume between the two countries rose to $1.5 billion.

According to The Nation, the UAE Ambassador to Nigeria, Fahad Al-Taffaq, disclosed this at an event to mark the 48 independence anniversary of the UAE held in Abuja.

The details: Speaking at the event, Al-Taffaq noted that both countries enjoyed excellent bilateral relations across all sectors. He further noted that the volume of trade between both countries stood at 1.5 billion dollars in the non-oil sector as at 2018.

UAE moves to strengthen ties with Nigeria, as trade volume hits $1.5 billion 

“This is set to increase with the recent opening of a consulate office in Nigeria’s commercial capital, Lagos, in June 2019.

“We are proud today to see that connectivity is improving, bilateral non-oil trade is improving, the flow of tourism especially medical and conventional tourism between the UAE and Nigeria is also increasing.

“We at the UAE are also looking forward for the participation of Nigeria in the Expo 2020 in Dubai, which is the greatest show the world has ever seen. We look forward also to welcome another 200 countries in this event to showcase human development and human genius and to connect to each other and to learn the opportunities that humanity presents now and in the future.”

[READ MORE: Korea expresses desire to deepen trade ties with Nigeria]

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In an earlier reportit was disclosed that UAE had constructed a 300-megawatt (MW) renewable energy plant in Lagos to aid power distribution. Al-Taffaq made this announcement during a courtesy visit to the Minister of Power, Sale Mamman in Abuja.

Al Taffaq told the minister that the energy plant was ready for use in Lagos and was expected to support power being supplied through the national grid. The Ambassador said the plant was constructed by a member of the emirate royal family, Ahmed Al-maktum, adding that the plant has the capacity to expand to about 1,000 MW in a few months.

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Boosting SMEs:  Also, Nigeria is reportedly in talks with the UAE for a collaboration to help boost Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) in the country. UAE’s Consul General in Lagos, Abdulla Al Mandoos recently disclosed his country’s interest in helping SMEs grow and to aid Nigeria develop its infrastructure and human capital.

UAE moves to strengthen ties with Nigeria, as trade volume hits $1.5 billion 
Fahad Al-Taffaq and the Senate Preseidnt

Al Mandoos also disclosed that there were plans to establish a trade zone for SMEs to showcase their products and services. He said the process had commenced and that letters had been exchanged between Lagos and Abu Dhabi.

“We are interested in the economy and infrastructure; we are looking at how we can come in and one of the things we came up with is to start a trade hub. Soon it will come up. The idea is to support the SMEs and enable them to take advantage of the hub which will be easy, safe and innovative. It will serve as a think-tank for the SMEs.”

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