Nigeria and Tunisia are to strengthen the bilateral relations between the two countries especially in the areas of trade, economy and technology.
Geoffrey Onyeama, Minister of Foreign Affairs made the statement in Abuja in his remarks at a business forum preceding Nigeria-Tunis Joint Ministerial Commission, which he says marks another breakthrough in the bilateral relations existing between the two nations.
“We appreciate the impressive development that had taken place in Tunisia which had really catapulted the country to the level mid income country.In all categories Tunisia is showing itself to be a leading country in the world today in the ICT, medical and agriculture among others, it has a made tremendous stride, that is why we are particularly happy in strengthening the bilateral relations between the two countries”, Onyeama says.
On the issue of the ongoing Joint Ministerial Commission between Nigeria and Tunisia, the Minister said that the ministry would identify various sectors to ensure increase in the level of co-operation and the business forum would further enhance the relations between the two countries.
“The era of hostility in global trade has long gone. We have fought it hard. We know that might not be always the case as we have some push-back against economic and trade co-operation.
“We do hope that internationally that good sense will prevail and that the promotion of free trade and putting down and reducing barriers and tariff and that is still the norm”, the Minister adds.
While expressing the hope that there would not be a return to the era of protectionism, he explains that the meeting between Nigeria and Tunisia was a demonstration that Africa is on the move and would promote freer trade on the continent.
According to Onyeama, “the meeting has presented wonderful opportunity for both countries, our business sectors of private sectors will drive the growth of both countries.
“The governments will have to put in place the enabling environment that is essentially because the private sector is the engine of growth of the economy”.
Also speaking at the meeting, Mr Khemaise Jhinaoui, Tunisian Minister of Foreign Affairs, is hopeful that the discussion at the meeting would identify new area of common interest mainly in investment and science and technology.
He said that the agreement to be signed later would enhance the relationship between the two countries especially in the area of business and technology while noting that relations between Nigeria and Tunisia were still below expectation.
“We have already existing relations but the relations is still below expectation currently the trade pattern does not reflect their long term relations,” the Tunisian Minister said.