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Nigeria Jamaica to leverage on Africa’s free trade

By Princess-Ekwi Ajide, Abuja

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Geoffrey Onyeama says, Africa has the largest trading area in the world based on the Continental Free Trade Agreement that has been signed.

The Minister who was speaking, at the close of the fourth session of the Nigeria-Jamaica Joint Commission, held in Abuja, Nigeria said there’s need for increased levels of trade between the two countries and that Jamaica now has opportunity to access the whole African market leveraging on the trade relation agreement it signed with Nigeria.

He lamented that the level of trade between the two countries at the moment is not where it should be and expressed hope that if different mechanisms are put in place, the countries will be able to increase the level of trade between them.

According to him, this year’s deliberations were centred on advancing Nigeria- Jamaica shared property and so discussions were centred on a number of key areas such as the technical aid corps they use to support and assist countries in the Caribbean, Africa and the Pacific, including cooperation in petroleum and energy field as well as talked about education, and trade which are extremely important to them.

Minister Onyeama also spoke on having direct flights to Jamaica from Nigeria, saying that Nigeria is keen on getting the Bilateral Air Services Agreement (BASA) with Jamaica kick started. “We already had a chartered flight go one direction from Lagos to Montego Bay, Jamaica but we are very keen to have more flights and to have the BASA in place to facilitate that, as it will help in so many different ways to promote people-to-people relationship, promoting cultural ties and in so many other areas”.

The Minister also stated that there are great potentials in the tourism and culture industry in Jamaica, and Nigeria can learn from them as the country tries to strengthen her tourism and culture sector, adding also that consular and migration affairs, agriculture and bilateral investment promotion were equally discussed at the joint commission.

He promised that the deliberations will not be mere words, but will be transformed and translated into very concrete deliverables that will lead to real shared prosperity between the two countries.

For Jamaica’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Kamina Smith, the joint commission was opportunity for the two countries to deepen the long-standing formidable and dynamic friendship between them and welcomes the commitments made by Nigeria to ensure that the partnership is indeed strengthened and would extend to the critical areas of health, security, tourism, sports, trade, investment, education and culture as they have much to learn from each other.

According to her, in addition to the enhanced people-to-people connection, their commercial and economic ties will also benefit from the engagements at the joint Commssion.

She was optimistic that substantial progress was made towards concluding the negotiations on the Memoranda of Understanding for cultural cooperation, and sports, and hopes that there will be a new and dynamic dimension in the bilateral relationships of the two countries based on the strength of the commitments made.


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