Last week, CWEIC hosted the first ‘Connecting the Commonwealth’ event in Lagos; a roundtable and networking session designed to explore and discuss ways to enhance the both the UK and Nigeria’s bilateral trade relationship, and Nigeria’s relationship with the wider Commonwealth.
‘Connecting the Commonwealth’ was run in conjunction with the Lord Mayor of London’s visit to Lagos, who attended the event as a special guest. During the opening remarks, the Lord Mayor spoke of how important the UK’s ties with Nigeria are, noting the country as a key stepping stone to advancing the City of London’s connection to emerging African markets.
A central topic of discussion was Nigeria’s position as one of the most exciting and rapidly developing countries in Africa. Alhaji Aliko Dangote, Founder of Dangote Group – one of the most successful business leaders in Africa, spoke of how Nigeria is the key to unlocking opportunity in Africa, citing it as the most entrepreneurial country on the continent.
This was reflected by many other attendees, with CWEIC’s Chief Executive Richard Burge and MD of PanAfrican Capital Holdings Chris Oshiafi also drawing on the influence that the prominent Commonwealth Nigerian diaspora can have in connecting international business back to Nigeria.
Closing remarks from the Lord Mayor focused on the role that trust plays in business. Trust penetrates every aspect of business, and its impact should not be underestimated; a sentiment especially pertinent for Nigerian business looking to attract foreign investment
What was so encouraging about the discussion was the way that contributors saw Nigeria as a country with huge economic potential, recognising the central role that international trade can play in accelerating growth.
Another element of the event’s success was the diverse participation it attracted, from Strategic Partners from across the Commonwealth and CWEIC’s Export Champions from the UK, to senior business leaders and representatives of government, including His Excellency Dr. Okechukwu Enelamah, Minister for Industry Trade and Investment.
CWEIC would like to sincerely thank all attendees, and we look forward to continuing this great programme in more Commonwealth countries.