President Bola Tinubu on Thursday, 19 October, 2023, in Abuja called for the strengthening of cross-sectoral partnership between Nigeria and the European Union (EU) based on the principles of democracy, rule of law, and freedom.
Receiving a delegation of the EU, led by Ms. Jutta Urpilainen, EU Commissioner in charge of International Partnerships, the President welcomed the signing of eight financing agreements between Nigeria and the EU, under the “EU Global Gateway in Nigeria,” at a separate event earlier in Abuja.
“Democracy is not an easy process, but we must fight for democracy and struggle for it to win at all times,” the President said.
President Tinubu, who emphasized the importance of economic cooperation with the EU in the areas of digital education, traditional energy, renewable energy, and broadband access, equally told the visiting delegation that Nigeria’s economy was going through several long-lasting reforms to render it capable of pulling millions of Nigerians out of poverty.
“We have a young and vibrant population, and we are determined to succeed. If we succeed, democracy succeeds. If we succeed, freedom succeeds,” he said.
“We need all of our partners’ hands on deck to sail together. We look forward to strengthening our partnerships.”
In her remarks, the EU Commissioner in charge of International Partnerships commended Nigeria for playing a pivotal role as a key partner of the EU, not only in politics and economics, but also in shaping the social landscape across the African continent.
The EU Commissioner explained that over the past four years, the EU has been working to transform the nature of its relationship with Africa by shifting away from the traditional donor-recipient dynamic.
She said the EU seeks to establish an equal and mutually beneficial partnership through the “Global Gateway” investment programme as a flagship example.
She noted that this strategy, agreed at the AU-EU Summit in Brussels last year, sets a goal of €300 billion in investments, with €150 billion allocated to Africa.
Thanking President Tinubu for the important role Nigeria played in supplying key energy products during its standoff with Russia in recent times, the EU Commissioner noted that the oil & gas partnership can be expanded while adding that the “Global Gateway” strategy is designed to expedite the green and digital transformations in EU partner countries, with Nigeria standing as one of its most strategic.
”We are investing in critical infrastructure such as energy, transportation, and digital infrastructure, as well as in human capital, education, and research,” she said.
Other members of the EU delegation include: Ms. Samuela Isopi, Ambassador of the European Union to Nigeria and ECOWAS; Ms. Rita Laranjinha, Managing Director of the Africa and European External Action Service (EEAS); Ms. Lora Borissova, Africa Advisor, Cabinet of EU; and Ms. Maria Pilar Palmero Vaquero, Head of Unit for Western Africa, Directorate-General International Partnerships (DG INTPA).