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Nigeria, Saudi Arabia to establish diplomat exchange scheme, business council

Nigeria, Saudi Arabia to establish diplomat exchange scheme, business council
October 15
16:10 2022

Nigeria and the kingdom of Saudi Arabia have agreed to set up a joint business council and a diplomatic corps exchange program to boost cooperation and deepen relations.

Geoffrey Onyeama, minister of foreign affairs, said this during a recent visit to Riyadh, the country’s capital city, according to Arab News.

The visit was to facilitate the creation of new business and diplomacy initiatives.

“We both agreed that we already have good relations between the two countries, in particular good political relations. We have shared values,” Onyeama told the newspaper.

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“But we felt like we can make a big improvement in the level of trade in particular. We have similar economic profiles as we are both oil-producing and exporting countries, so, the energy sector is one that we are both very strong in.”

Onyeama and Faisal Bin Farhan, his Saudi counterpart, also reviewed bilateral cooperations and discussed opportunities that will further enhance security, trade, energy and economy.

“We highlighted the importance of enabling investments in each other’s countries, and the importance of making that real through concrete measures,” Onyeama said.

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Speaking on the joint business council, he said the initiative would have 10 people on each side — “prominent entrepreneurs, public and private sector, and also some of the institutional stakeholders like the ministry of trade and the ministry of foreign affairs and so forth.”

“We want it to be an institutional mechanism for concrete trade promotion,” he added.

Onyeama said the second initiative will enable junior diplomats from both countries to meet regularly to create a better understanding and strengthen relations.

“What we are doing is laying that solid bond between them so as they grow up in the system, their careers as foreign service officers they will have this familiarity with each other and know how each side ticks and make it much easier to forge what we want to be a special relationship between the two countries,” he said.

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He further explained that junior diplomats will exchange visits every other year for two to three weeks and look at global issues facing their regions.

“We think that these two institutional mechanisms that we are putting in place will see the relationship even closer five to seven years down the line,” Onyeama said.

The minister said that he and Faisal reviewed areas where they can promote corporations including energy, inclusivity, and security and stability.

“Saudi Arabia… has made great strides in the areas of renewables so that was something we focused on,” he Onyeama added.

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“We are also two countries seeking to diversify our economies and much more in areas such as agriculture, in particular, renewable energy.”

He added that the two ministers also discussed hoped-for reforms of multinational bodies such as the UN, “to make them more inclusive and more representative of the world of today so that they can tackle issues that are of importance to developing countries such as ourselves and Saudi Arabia”.

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According to Onyeama, they also looked at various key global issues in their regions including Libya, Yemen, Syria, Lebanon, and Palestine, and the terrorism crises in West Africa.

“There are challenges, we recognised security and terrorism and its urgencies, especially in the West African regions and also the terrorist challenges you also face in your regions and how we can cooperate in these areas,” he said.

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