Canadian High Commissioner emphasizing the importance of the partnership between Canada on and the FCT in the area of improved infrastructure in the Territory to the FCT Minister, Sen. Bala Mohammed at the Canadian embassy during the round table discussion on improving on the trade relationship between Nigeria and Canada. Photo by Osaretin Ekiadolor
By Osaretin Ekiadolor
The governments of Nigerian and Canadian have agreed to partner and explore various areas that would boost trade volume between both countries with Nigeria benefiting in the areas of agriculture, oil and gas, education, infrastructure amongst others.
The meeting which was held at the Canadian High Commission in Abuja was aimed at raising trade volume between both countries to reach $6b by the year 2015 with Canada promising its expertise to build local capacity in food security by harnessing the entire food production chain in the country.
The meeting which was chaired by the Canadian High Commissioner to Nigeria, His Excellency, Chris Cooter promised a wide range of support to Nigeria in virtually all aspects of the economy.
Fielding questions from journalists after the meeting, the Canadian Minister of International Trade, Honourable Edward Fast said the discussion with various groups in Nigeria had development of agriculture leading discussions for economic growth and assured that
Canada has the capacity to deliver on these areas.
He noted that Canada has not maximized its relationship with Nigeria to enjoy the full potential of the partnership, a situation he admitted informed this round of discussion that has brought in three Canadian top government officials to Nigeria in the last three four Months.
His words: “Canada has not been engaging Nigeria as it should be; the fact that three of our ministers have visited Nigerian in the last four months sends the message of how serious this relationship is being considered by the Canadian Government.
“In my discussion with some of my colleagues around the table, and some of Nigeria’s business community is that food security would held drive economic growth here. Significant population of Nigerians rely on agriculture for their livelihoods
“Much of food cultivated the food get spoilt because of lack of storage. Another aspect is that area of processing how do we take the agricultural product in the country and add value to it, this and other areas like oil and gas, education etc were discussed.
“Canada is world leader in education and we have the opportunity to partner with the Nigeria to provide the educational solutions for the Nigerian youth to address the challenges of their daily lives, Fast stated.
Corroborating this position, the Anambra state Governor, Mr. Peter Obi said Canadian education focuses on the skill set of the individual rather than wholly rely on the content of the certificate presented by the individual for jobs, this he noted is relevant with the entrepreneurial skills of the youths in Anambra and the south east region.
According to the governor this aspect of education would be needed in the country to facilitate the empowerment of the youths in the region for the development of themselves and their respective society.
Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Senator Bala Mohammed noted that the Canadian experience in development of infrastructure across the country and the FCT was critical for the partnership, he pointed out that Abuja as a growing city would benefit from the relationship.
The governments of FCT, Rivers, Anambra, Cross River, Nasarawa and Kogi were invited to the meeting, while the Anambra State governor and the FCT Minister were present, the chief of staff to the Niger state sent a representative.