Vicky Ford – 2022 Speech at the UK-Nigeria 7th Economic and Development Forum

The speech made by Vicky Ford, the Minister for Africa, at Lancaster House in London on 27 April 2022.

Good evening Your Excellency, Honourable Ministers, members of the Nigerian delegation, colleagues and friends. It is a great pleasure to host you tonight in this beautiful, historic setting.

Thank you to Guinness Nigeria for supporting this event. I was fascinated to learn that Nigeria was home to the first Guinness brewery outside of Britain, and this is now the world’s second-largest market for Guinness. And as someone who was born and raised in Northern Ireland I’ve drunk a lot of Guinness. So well done Guinness. Do you have any on tap? It’s a fantastic example of the strong trading links between our countries!

And tonight, we celebrate those links, and our shared commitment to boosting trade and investment between our countries. It was wonderful to see the benefits of our close collaboration first-hand when I visited Nigeria in February.

I spent three busy days in Abuja and Lagos, meeting federal ministers, governors and business leaders.

And we discussed the huge opportunities that Nigeria has to offer to the UK, as Africa’s largest economy.

During my visit, I was delighted to announce a £74 million loan to First Bank, through British International Investment. That will help to support female entrepreneurs and small businesses in Nigeria.

But we also marked the UK’s first investment of £10m to support low carbon energy investment. I know there are investors in low carbon energy in this room. We will continue to support Nigeria’s ambitions to transition to renewable energy, while working to turbocharge our digital partnership.

In Lagos, I saw for myself the enormous potential in this area when I visited the UK-supported Digi-Girls project. This is enabling women and girls to access digital skills, and I also met with tech entrepreneurs and creative industry leaders, to learn more about those sectors. They are truly vibrant sectors in Nigeria.

I am delighted to see in this room this evening the people who can take these opportunities to the next level.
Through business partnerships we can take our trade and investment partnership to scale, make the energy transition happen, and create jobs in Nigeria and in the UK.

It was great to meet Your Excellency this morning ahead of the Economic Development Forum, when we discussed these shared ambitions. Both of our Governments, and the UK team in Nigeria, stand shoulder to shoulder with business leaders in turning these ambitions into a reality.

Thank you so much.