"The legacy Bulgarian companies built in Nigeria decades ago hasn’t been forgotten and the potential for development of the bilateral economic relations is huge", the chairman of the Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry Mr Tsvetan Simeonov said at the opening of the Bulgarian-Nigerian Business Forum in Sofia.
The event was attended by the Minister of Economy and Industry Nikola Stoyanov and the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investments of the Federal Republic of Nigeria Mrs Mariam Katagum. She is visiting Bulgaria as part of a governmental and business delegation.
It was highlighted during the event that trade between Bulgaria and Nigeria has expanded by 400% in the last 5 years. Minister Stoyanov said that bilateral trade relations have been prospering in recent years, but absolute values were still deficient. He emphasized that only determination and action will build lasting, long-term relations between the businesses, modernize the relevant legal framework and speed up the bilateral exchange of economic and commercial information. "Bulgaria can provide a direct connection with the countries of the entire region and the Middle East, as well as open the door for Nigerian companies to enter the single European market," he added.
Minister Katagum pointed out that the two countries should actively engage with updating the agreements at governmental level, as they set the framework and provide a good basis for strengthening the bilateral relations. The Nigerian minister also stated that her country is trying hard to reach the European market, to attract investors interested in developing production in the African country.
The chairman of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry Mr Michael Olawale -Kole reiterated on the willingness and readiness of one of the oldest business organization /135 years/ and also one of the most active in West Africa to support the relations between companies from both countries. Cooperation between the two Chambers of commerce dates back to 1981 when the BCCI and the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines, and Agriculture (NACCIMA) signed an Agreement for cooperation.
The business forum was organized by the Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry with the operative support of the Embassies of both countries. The forum was attended by more than 40 Bulgarian and Nigerian companies. A Memorandum of Cooperation was signed in the presence of both ministers between the BTPP and the LTPP as an expression of their will and commitment to deepen the cooperation.
Agriculture, mineral resources, pharmacy and the ICT were notably the main sectors of mutual interest. The participants discussed the potential areas of cooperation as well as the particular steps of bracing the relations. At companies’ level, the forum provided opportunities for holding a number of meetings.
The Nigerian delegation visited Industrial park Bozhurishte and had meetings with educational institutions in Sofia and Plovdiv.