By Angela Atabo
The European Union (EU) is to disburse 150 billion Euros in four years by 2027 through its Global Gateway Initiative to Nigeira and other African countries to enhance infrastructure in over eight sectors.
The EU Commissioner for International Partnerships, Jutta Urpilainen, made this known during the launch of the Global Gateway initiative on Thursday in Abuja.
According to Urpilainen, the Global Gateway initiative is crafted to enhance connectivity, promote sustainable development, and strengthen economic ties between the EU and its partner countries, including Nigeria.
She said that through the initiative, the EU would support Nigeria to achieve enhanced infrastructure connectivity, including transport, energy, digital networks; support agriculture, economic growth, health and education.
“It will also promote sustainable development and environmental protection; and foster cooperation and partnerships with Nigeria and other partner countries.
“We are living in an increasingly fragmented world. The war that Russia started against Ukraine last year, the military takeover in Niger in July, and the escalation in Israel-Palestine conflict, are just stark reminders of that.
“In such a world, the Global Gateway strategy is our positive offer to build resilient connections in the world through strategic partnerships to jointly address the challenges of our times from fighting climate change to improving health systems,”she said
“Together, we intend to mobilise 300 billion Euros in investments by the year 2027, and half of them for Africa; it is 150 billion Euros by the year 2027; Nigeria features prominently in the Global Gateway investment package.”
Urpilainen said that the EU would support the 5G rollout in Nigeria, as part of its efforts to support the digital economy and it is working on a potential loan to support Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the digital and print sectors.
She added that the EU has committed financial resources to support the energy sector, including the setting up of mini grids and small hydropower plants for productive and public purposes.
“In 2022, we launched a digital economic package for Nigeria. With EU and European Investment Banks, investments worth 820 million Euros, it is a lot of money.
“We are already supporting the roll out of digital IDs nationwide, mobile network expansion with MTN in Lagos and other states.
“We are also about to launch the construction of a line between Katsina and Daura twin lines, and we are proposing to reinforce the Nigeria-Benin interconnection of the framework of the West African power pole.”she said
Urpilainen said that education is the most transformative investment anyone could make so an empowerment project is being launched in North Western Nigeria in cooperation with government to promote quality basic education in the northern regions.
She said Nigeria is also a major beneficiary of the student mobility and higher education cooperation project under Erasmus+ with more than 2,020 students from Nigeria granted scholarships for studying in the EU in 2022.
The EU is committed to a long-term partnership with Nigeria under the Global Gateway to achieve shared goals and objectives.
” The EU’s long-term commitment will see investments into the following sectors of the country: Agriculture (€42,000,000), Energy (€37,000,000), Health (€45,000,000), Digital (€55,000,000), Education (€45,000,000), and Social Protection (€46,000,000).”
Mr Bosun Tijani, Minister of Communication, Innovation and Digital Economy, said that the Global Gateway initaive aimed at achieving collective regional and global prosperity was in full alignment with President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s Renewed Hope agenda.
According to Tijani , the core of this administration’s agenda is a developed Nigeria that is not only for a few, but for all, providing the Government the opportunity to actualize its plans in sectors that it wants to focus on.
“Africa’s relationship with Europe has deep historical roots, and has been built on years of shared values, collaboration and mutual respect.
” While we enjoy geographical proximity, we also have increasingly intertwined culture, and more importantly, a shared future.
” As we seek a better future together, we can only fully actualize and realize this dream by leveraging the ties that we have always had.
“We can build a more resilient world. If we empower and enable Africa to leverage its resources to contribute to the world, while strengthening its local economies.”
Tijani said that working with the EU gives Nigeria the opportunity to leverage its structure and historical resources to do more for the world, specifically also for Africa.
“For us in the Ministry of Communication, Innovation and Digital Economy, our role takes on further significance as we have a portfolio that will be central to all we want to achieve under the Global Gateway programme.
“Nigeria is a country that is extremely blessed; not only are we blessed with natural resources that can provide opportunities for us to help meet global challenges, food security, we are also blessed with a very young, agile population.”
Tijani said that the investment of the Nigerian government was to provide opportunities for young people to participate in the global economy.(NAN)