The Consul-General of Brazil in Lagos, Amb. Maria Figueiredo, on Monday announced the new interest of Brazilian companies in doing businesses with Nigeria and Nigerians.
Figueiredo, who made the announcement in Lagos at a Brazil/Nigeria Business Forum, said that the companies had realised the need for mutually beneficial business relations with Nigeria.
The Consul-General said that a Trade Mission of 11 different companies were at the One-day forum to indicate the new interest of Brazilian companies in the Nigerian economy.
“We believe that it is about time that Brazil and Nigeria come together again in promoting mutually-beneficial business relations between our two countries.
“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Brazil and ApexBrasil, a Brazilian Trade and Investment Promotion Agency have, therefore, organised a Trade Mission of 11 Brazilian companies to this forum.
“We really want Brazilian and Nigerian companies to know themselves and begin to do business together , especially now that Africa is asking for the presence of Brazilian companies,’’ she said.
According to her, the Brazilian Trade Mission seeks to bring closer Nigerian and Brazilian companies, as well as promote international business and strategic partnerships between the two countries.
Figueiredo recalled that Brazil had in the past had good commercial relations with Africa, during which there was an exchange of products between Brazil and African countries.
She enjoined Nigerians and Brazilian companies to take advantage of huge business opportunities that currently existed between both countries.
The Consul-General also advised Nigerians interested in doing businesses with Brazil to always approach the Consulate General of Brazil in Lagos for necessary information and assistance.
Mr Byron Isi, a Deputy Director at the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission(NICP), who spoke on “Business and Investment Opportunities in Nigeria,’’ described Nigeria as a country with huge business opportunities.
Isi said that it was imperative for Brazilian companies and businesses to know that Nigeria was the largest investment destination in Africa, as well as the gateway to other ECOWAS countries.
“We want you to know that Nigeria is currently not doing badly at all. Nigeria is a closely guarded secret that you should take advantage of.
“You should know that Nigeria is a strategic market, undergoing dynamic changes and transformation.
“We also want you to know that Nigeria is a nation that can truly give your investment and businesses the desired benefits,’’ he said.
The NIPC official said that the Nigerian Government had come up with reforms aimed at enhancing the country’s Ease of Doing Business.
Isi also said that with the government‘s ongoing effort at making Nigeria an investment destination in Africa, the country would soon become a place that could not be ignored.
A representative of the Brazilian Trade and Investment Promotion Agency (ApexBrasil), Mr Diogo Akitaya, said that there were good business opportunities for Nigeria and Brazil.
Akitaya, who said that Brazilian companies and businesses were becoming more interested in Africa, added that Nigeria would have “a big role’’ to play in Brazil’s new business move into Africa.
“We are really here so that we can work closely in achieving the new business beginning between our two countries.
“We are here to build a new business link between Nigeria and Brazil. We want more opportunities and ties for us to further promote our areas of cooperation,’’he added.
In the last four years, trade between Nigeria and Brazil increased to $9.1bn from $8.2bn. Nigeria mainly imports sugar, rice, vehicles and spare parts, chemical products, aircraft, paper, iron and steel and machinery from Brazil.
However, 96% of Nigerian ex-ports to Brazil consist of crude oil, highlighting that Nigeria is a mono-cultural economy which can learn from Brazil by diversifying its export base.