RIYADH: Nigerian Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment Mariam Yalwaji Katagum on Monday said that bilateral Saudi Arabia-Nigeria relations are excellent, describing how the two countries support each other at international fora.
Katagum was in Riyadh for the 2022. World Entrepreneurship Conference. to rebuild.
The GEC, held under the patronage of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, began on Sunday amid a boom in start-ups in the region, where a number of high-profile venture capital funds and angel investors are flooding in to do business.
Running until March 30, the GEC focuses on making it easier for entrepreneurs to start and scale a business. Top Speakers and a successful team of serial businessmen are among the speakers to help steer entrepreneurs through the business and health issues that killed the global economy during the killing of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In an exclusive interview with Arab News, Katagum said: “I am here for the annual summit, where countries around the world come to look at entrepreneurship issues. We know that entrepreneurs, especially Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) are the engines of economic growth in every country, so it is extremely important that we look at entrepreneurial issues, and how governments can help them. ”
MSMEs are critical to achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), launched in 2015 as a blueprint for a better and more sustainable future for all.
“This annual event is taking place in Riyadh this year. There will be plenty to bring with you from this summit, so I hope that people will return to their countries and start looking at the areas where we need to improve, especially in terms of networking, ”he said. Minister of Nigeria.
“Most start-ups are young (launched) people with a lot of creative energy. So we need to put in place policies and frameworks, including providing access to finance and market, because an entrepreneur may have all the ideas, but you need the right policy, on the ground You need finance and technology, and then, of course, access to the markets, ”she said.
Visiting Riyadh, Katagum said: “With a meeting like this… to share ideas and best practices, countries were able to articulate what they are doing in terms of entrepreneurship policy, what is the rule technology, how we can help and enable them to network with similar entrepreneurs, even with large industries in other countries. ”
Speaking on Saudi Arabia’s bilateral trade, she said: “We have a great relationship with Saudi Arabia. Nigeria has diversified from oil and gas, so we are looking at agro products. Just last week, I opened a technical committee to look at halal certification so that Nigeria has a lot to offer in countries like Saudi Arabia where halal food is consumed. We need to implement the right certification so that our products are exported here. ”
Commenting on changes since the COVID-19 pandemic, Katagum said “e-commerce has improved between the two countries. Now that our borders are open, there will be much more trade between us, at least we will learn a lot about how Saudi Arabia is using gas efficiently, and now we are focusing on non-oil products. ”
She noted that Saudi Arabia and Nigeria have good bilateral relations: “We have excellent bilateral relations between the two countries. At international forums, I know that Saudi Arabia gives us all the support they can, and vice versa, Nigeria continues to support Saudi Arabia. ”
She also said that in November last year, the business council of the Arab countries of Nigeria and the Gulf was opened, including representation from all Arab countries.
Apart from general business advice, Katagum said Lagos appointed Nigerian ministers responsible for certain key sectors such as power, water, housing and agriculture at the Dubai expo. They gathered investors and later began sector meetings and in – depth diving to see the real interests of the investing countries.
“Very soon we will come to Saudi Arabia and do that sectoral world and find investors, those who are interested in investing from both sides of Saudi Arabia and Nigeria,” she said.
On the sidelines of the GEC, it convened a meeting with South African Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu to develop a strategy on how African countries can ensure that they are able to make effective use of the platform provided by the GEC. They also discussed how they can integrate the activities and initiatives of the EEA network into the African Union 2063 Agenda for Africa.
Agenda 2063 is Africa’s blueprint and masterplan for transforming Africa as the global power of the future. The continent’s strategic framework aims to achieve its goal of inclusive and sustainable development and is a concrete expression of the pan-African campaign for unity, self-determination, freedom, progress and collective prosperity.
“I also had a meeting with Dilawar Syed, a special representative of the U.S. Department of State’s Office of Commerce and Business. Our discussions have been very fruitful in that we have an understanding of the areas they want to help, ”said the Minister.
“From a Nigerian perspective, we can highlight what kind of initiatives the government has put in place such as the economic sustainability plan which is essentially about helping to reduce the effects of COVID-19. And some of the key programs we think are very successful are such as the MSME survival fund, housing issues, social investment issues, and how, when we return to our countries, to think further and decide on key initiatives. what we need. to bring forward, ”she said.
“So we do not want a big basket of aspirations, we want to be more specific, things that will change our countries,” said the Minister.
Katagum arrived in Riyadh on Monday morning and left Tuesday for Dubai to attend the World Government Summit and the World Women’s Leadership Conference.
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