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Economic implications of Nigeria's relations with the UAE for your business

September 13, 2023
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On Monday, September 11, President Bola Tinubu, while in the UAE, announced through his official X account that he had met with the UAE president, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and the visa ban placed on Nigerian travellers has been lifted.

“As part of our discussions, the following have been reached:

“Immediate lifting of the visa ban placed on Nigerian travellers by the UAE,” he wrote.

UAE authorities had suspended visa issuance to Nigerians in October 2022. Consequently, Etihad and Emirates, its leading airlines, suspended flights to Nigeria.

The developments affected activities of Nigerians who were regular visitors to the Middle East country for businesses, tourism and leisure.

Following the challenges, President Tinubu had directed the immediate resolutions of the issue when Ambassador Designate of UAE to Nigeria, Salem Saeed Al-Shamsi, presented his Letter of Credence to him at Aso Rock in August.

“As negotiated between the two Heads of State, this immediate restoration of flight activity, through these two airlines and between the two countries, does not involve any immediate payment by the Nigerian government,” Presidential spokesman, Ajuri Ngelale said.

President Tinubu opens bilateral relations with the UAE

What are the implications of this?

Not too long ago, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) became a hub for business and leisure, attracting visitors and investors from around the world. However, for Nigerian business professionals and travellers, a significant obstacle stood in the way – the UAE’s visa ban. This ban, which has restricted many Nigerians from visiting the UAE, has hindered business prospects and limited opportunities for trade and investment.

This reversal comes with a host of economic opportunities that promise to strengthen the ties between the two nations.

Nigerian economist, Emeka Orji, welcomed the president’s move as a step that could reverse negative economic trends.

“It should be a no-brainer for them to reverse it,” Orji said, according to VOA. “The major chunk of their tourism, whether it is education or for holidays, Nigeria would show up on the list of its major tourism income-earning countries.”

One of the immediate benefits of the visa ban reversal is the enhancement of bilateral relations between Nigeria and the UAE. The removal of travel restrictions sends a powerful signal of goodwill, fostering greater diplomatic cooperation between the two nations. This can pave the way for more robust trade agreements and collaborations on various fronts, from energy to technology.

For Nigerian entrepreneurs and businesses, the UAE has long been an attractive destination for investment. With its booming economy, strategic location, and business-friendly environment, the UAE offers a host of opportunities for growth and expansion. Now if Nigerians can travel freely to the UAE, these opportunities become even more accessible.

Nigerian businesses can explore various sectors, including real estate, hospitality, technology, and finance, to invest and expand their operations in the UAE. Additionally, the lifting of the visa ban facilitates easier access to UAE markets, making it more convenient for Nigerian entrepreneurs to establish a presence and build valuable connections.

Read also: 6 Socio-Economic Benefits Of Nigeria’s Fuel Subsidy Removal

The synergy can also enhance trade relations between Nigeria and the UAE, as banks in both countries can play a pivotal role in facilitating trade finance, simplifying import-export processes, and fostering economic ties.

“International relations between the two countries will likely lead to an increase in economic activity,” Orji said. “There may be some interest in investing in some sectors in Nigeria. That would be an obvious gain for Nigeria.”

President Tinubu opens bilateral relations with the UAE
President Bola Tinubu with the UAE president, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan in the UAE

Additionally, the President announced, “An agreed framework for new investments worth several billions of U.S. dollars into the Nigerian economy by the UAE government, covering multiple sectors including defense and agriculture.”

What this means

The agreement could provide tax breaks, subsidies, and other incentives to attract investors. The two countries can also form joint ventures that would allow them share resources and expertise and reduce the risk for each party.

Read also: Top 5 Richest Countries In Africa: How They Built Their Wealth

Specifically, the UAE can help Nigeria to build its capacity in defense and agriculture. This could include training programs, research and development, and other initiatives.

No doubt, the UAE is a major military power, and bilateral relations could lead to enhanced cooperation in defense and security. This could help improve the security architecture in Nigeria.

Also, the UAE is a member of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and an important economic partner for the EU, serving as the EU’s first export destination and investment partner in the MENA region. The EU remains the UAE’s second most important trading partner. This means that Nigerian businesses could have improved access to markets in the GCC and the EU through bilateral relations with the UAE.

Meanwhile, this agreement comes on the heels of increased investments imports by the UAE in the first quarter of 2023.

Data from the latest Capital Importation report of the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) for the first quarter of 2023 showed that UAE investors sent $108.28 million into the country between January and March this year.

This was an increase of 216.05 per cent from the $34.26 million sent in Q1, 2022. However, it was a slight decrease of 7.31 per cent from the $116.82 million recorded in Q4, 2022.

Since the visa ban in October, a total of $225.1 million had been invested in Nigeria from the UAE.

This total figure for October 2022 to March 2023 was almost up to the total $281.78 million recorded for the entire year of 2022.

The UAE also donated relief food items to Nigeria following the recent flood disaster in November 2022. Similarly, the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development signed an agreement with the Nigerian government to finance a major road project in the country.

The fund allocated Dhs165 million ($45 million) to support the Minna-Bida Road project.

Given the already large amounts of fund injection into the Nigerian economy before the ban lift, it is safe to predict that there will be more capital injection in the coming period, therefore, creating economic boost and business opportunities for Nigerian entrepreneurs.

That being said, Coronation Merchant Bank is committed to help businesses and investors take advantage of these opportunities, with a wide range of products and services that meet the needs of both local and international clients.

Some of the key products and services offered by Coronation Merchant Bank include:

Corporate finance: Coronation Merchant Bank provides advisory services on mergers and acquisitions, initial public offerings, and debt capital raising. This can help businesses grow and expand, and to access the capital they need to achieve their goals.

Asset management: Coronation Merchant Bank manages mutual funds, pension funds, and other investment products. This can help investors grow their wealth and achieve their financial goals.

Research: Coronation Merchant Bank provides analysis of the Nigerian economy and financial markets. This helps businesses and investors make informed decisions about investments.

Trading: Coronation Merchant Bank trades in equities, bonds, and other financial instruments. This helps businesses and investors manage risks and take advantage of investment opportunities.

Treasury: Coronation Merchant Bank provides liquidity and risk management services to clients. This helps businesses and investors manage their cash flow and protect their investments.

Investment advisory: Coronation Merchant Bank provides advisory services to businesses and investors on investment opportunities in the UAE. This helps them take informed decisions about their investments.

Coronation Merchant Bank has a strong track record of success in providing these services to businesses and investors in Nigeria. We have a team of experienced professionals who are committed to providing excellent service to clients.

Reach out at:

Phone: +234 (0)1-2797640-43

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