NIGERIA - BELGIUM RELATIONS
Diplomatic relations between Nigeria and the Kingdom of Belgium was established in 1961. Since then, both countries have maintained cordial and mutually beneficial engagements. Most bilateral issues in the context of Nigeria-Belgium relations have been subsumed in the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of countries engagements with the European Union (ACP-EU). The Belgian authorities have no doubt, consistently demonstrated favourable disposition towards taking the Nigeria-Belgium bilateral relations to greater heights, outside the multilateral sphere.
Belgium hosted President Goodluck Ebele JONATHAN, GCFR, in 2012, when he attended the EU-Africa Summit. Belgium also hosted to the Vice President of Nigeria, Arc. Namadi SAMBO during the High Level Conference on the Sahel in 2014. These high profile visits have no doubt enhanced Nigeria’s visibility in Belgium and further consolidated the cordial bilateral relations between both countries.
Belgium has always collaborated with Nigeria in the United Nations system and other multilateral institutions. Belgium supported Nigeria in her candidature for President of the Council of International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).
At the Economic Level, relations between Nigeria and Belgium have remained cordial over the years. A number of Belgian companies are also collaborating with some Nigerian entrepreneurs in the production of palm oil, carpet making, banking and finance as well as alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverage. Jan de Nul Dredging Company have also entered the Nigerian space.
There are currently over forty Belgian firms involved in various business enterprises in Nigeria. These include OK Free Trade Zone, presently engaged in building of a new modern and deeper port in collaboration with the government of Lagos, Ogun Osun and Ondo States; Dredging Environmental and Marine Engineering (DEME) which secured a 15 year maintenance contract for Onne and Bonny Ports among others, and Sluys International Belgium, which deals in production of beverages.
Interestingly, Belgium is a household name in Nigeria, as many fairly used motor vehicles and spare parts imported from Europe through the Port of Antwerp have become synonymous with quality.
In the area of capacity building, there is an excellent relationship between the Nigerian Port Authority (NPA) and the Belgian Antwerp/Flanders Port Training Centre (APEC). APEC has been a useful partner in the ongoing diversification of the Nigerian economy to enable the country fully tap its economic potentials.
Belgium is ready to explore Nigeria’s huge market potentials for finished goods from various industries, including machine tools, agricultural finished products including dairies and beef. In a bid to improve business relations between the two countries, in June 2014, over sixty Business men and investors from the Flanders region of Belgium visited Lagos and Abuja to explore the plethora of opportunities in Nigeria