Young girls in Nigeria
The UK government has signed an economic partnership with Nigeria which would help UK businesses especially UK education providers to set up campuses in the country, ultimately helping the fastest-growing economy in the world to encash their growing population.

The UK is seeking to enhance its role in the African continent with a one-of-a-kind economic partnership with Nigeria.

Earlier this week, the UK signed an economic deal with Nigeria when the UK trade secretary Kemi Badeoch visited Nigeria on February 13.

In September 2023, UK exports to Nigeria increased by three per cent to reach £4 billion compared to the same period in 2022.

The deal signed by Nigerian Trade Minister Doris Nkiruka Uzoka-Anite and UK Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch seeks to build a strong UK-Nigeria trade relationship of £7 billion worth which would unlock opportunities for the UK energy sector, financial services and legal sector.

Meanwhile, the UK energy firm Konexa also signed a deal with Nigerian power generation company North South Power (NSP) to support the country's transition into sustainable energy.

This is the first time the UK government has signed an Enhanced Trade and Investment Partnership (ETIP) with any African country. This seeks to build on the already thriving trade relationship of the two nations which reached £7 billion last September.

The Sunak government stressed the opportunities that UK-Nigeria ETIP would create for the financial and legal services sector of the two countries as UK lawyers and Nigerian lawyers will get to practise international law in each other's jurisdictions. This will enhance the export of UK legal services, resulting in further collaboration in the film and media sector.

A remittance resolution with Nigeria, opened up better foreign exchange windows between the UK and Nigeria as multiple import-export windows are streamlined into one, making it easier for the UK finance and legal services sector.

The UK education sector is set to benefit from an enhanced UK-Nigeria trade partnership as it would allow UK education providers to offer their services in Nigeria.

At present Nigeria is the biggest economy in Africa which has the potential to break into the top 20 global economies in terms of GDP by 2035. It is one of the fastest growing economies in the world at the moment with a projected population of 370 million by 2050.

Earlier a UN report that the answer to global supply chain disruptions lies in Africa, and Nigeria could play a crucial role in it.

UK-Nigeria economic partnership to help UK businesses

Speaking about the UK-Nigeria economic partnership, Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch said: "This partnership with Nigeria – the UK's first with an African country – will allow us to work together and seize the opportunities that lie ahead."

"Nigeria has one of the fastest growing economies in the world. UK businesses have already seen huge success here and I look forward to seeing how we continue to grow this relationship," the Trade Secretary added.

Badenoch also met the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria and the Nigerian Finance Minister to discuss ways of addressing trade barriers between the two countries, especially those faced by UK businesses. The Trade Secretary visited the first UK independent school in West Africa, a new Charterhouse school site as part of her Nigeria tour.

Earlier a resolution was passed to remove restrictions on Transnational Education Investment in Nigeria, which resulted in UK education providers like Charterhouse establishing centres in Nigeria. This resolution would lead to investments worth £55 million in the next five years.

Meanwhile, the Nigerian Trade Minister Doris Nkiruka Uzoka-Anite said: "The UK is one of our long-standing strategic partners with whom we share strong ties, and it gladdens me that this relationship is set to deepen as we sign the Enhanced Trade and Investment Partnership."

"This partnership will see Nigeria-UK relations move beyond one of shared history and strong ties to one of shared economic prosperity. From increasing market access and supporting our vibrant businesses to creating more jobs and accelerating greater investments in sectors of mutual interests," the Nigerian Trade Minister added.

The Managing Director of the City UK International, Nicola Watkinson, welcomed the ETIP with Nigeria, saying: "Nigeria is an important growth market for the UK-based financial and related professional services industry".

"We look forward to continuing our engagement through the working groups to increase market access and remove regulatory frictions," Watkinson said.

The Konexa-NSP agreement will help the UK energy firm supply Nigerian Breweries PLC with 100 per cent renewable energy power sources and help make the clean energy transition, ultimately leading to £14 million in investments in Nigeria.

The CEO of Konexa Pradeep Pursnani spoke of this when he said that the ETIP with Nigeria will help the UK energy firm to invest "over £120 million in renewable energy generation, transmission, distribution and battery storage solutions", reducing fossil fuel use.