By Mathew Dadiya, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari has called on investors to look beyond the challenges currently facing the world and focus on opportunities they present, as according to him, there are no challenges without opportunities and solutions.
Buhari made the call, Thursday in Madrid when he addressed the Spain-Nigeria Business Meeting organised by the Spanish Chamber of Commerce and the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment during his State Visit to Spain.
The President told the gathering of Spanish and Nigerian corporations and investors to look towards Africa for the opportunities therein.
“It is currently a challenging time for the global economy. But I have always held the strong conviction that there is no crisis without an accompanying opportunity and solution. Increased collaboration with African nations could well be what Europe needs to mitigate against both current and potential future supply-chain challenges and improve both our economic opportunities,” he said.
Buhari added that the business meeting provided a good opportunity to advance trade relations between the two nations which are today principally dominated by the oil and gas sector.
“I believe this forum is an excellent platform to establish and strengthen business relationships, share valuable experience, and collaborate for the mutual benefit of our countries.
“For quite a number of decades, Spain has been one of Nigeria’s most important trading partners. It is, for example, a major importer of Nigerian crude oil.
“Nigeria’s exports to Spain stood at $4.8b in 2020 whilst Spain’s exports to Nigeria increased from $97.2 million in 1995 to $517million in 2020. A lot more can be done to increase the volume of trade and today presents a good opportunity to explore how this can be achieved”, he said.
The Nigerian leader reiterated that the current administration has put in place mechanisms to shift the age-long dependence on oil for the sustenance of the country, adding that the focus now is into value chain and exploitation of available abundant solid minerals.
“Since the inception of our Administration in 2015, we have concentrated on moving beyond the historical dependence on crude oil for government revenue and foreign exchange inflows. We have successfully driven its diversification and put the economy on the path of sustainable and inclusive growth through an open, rules based and market-oriented way of doing business.
“Historically, the focus has been on Nigeria’s oil sector but Nigeria is home to a wide range of other sectors that hold very great potentials. We are the largest economy in Africa and our well over 200 million-strong consumer market is home to a range of attractive opportunities in sectors such as agriculture, healthcare, light manufacturing, infrastructure development and technology.
“Nigeria has a number of other notable mineral resources including coal, gold, bitumen, iron ore and uranium. However, our current focus is on adding value to our natural resources prior to exportation,” said the President”, the President added.