Nigeria’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, has stressed the need to strengthen the bilateral relations that exist between Nigeria and Tunisia.
The two countries are to strengthen relations especially in the areas of trade, economy and technology.
Mr. Onyeama made the call at a business forum preceding Nigeria-Tunis Joint Ministerial Commission in Abuja.
The Minister said that the two-day meeting marked another milestone in the bilateral relations between the two countries.
‘‘We appreciate the impressive development that had taken place in Tunisia which had really catapulted the country to the level mid income country,” Mr. Onyeama said.
‘‘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 made tremendous stride.
‘‘That is why we are particularly happy in strengthening the bilateral relations between the two countries,” he said.
He said that the ongoing Joint Ministerial Commission between Nigeria and Tunisia at the Nigerian Ministry of Foreign Affairs would identify various sectors in which level of cooperation could be increased.
‘‘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 cooperation.
‘‘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 will no longer be norm,” he said
‘‘The meeting has presented wonderful opportunity for both countries; our business sectors and private sectors will drive the growth of both countries
‘‘The governments will have to put in place the enabling environment that is essential because the private sector is the engine of growth of the economy,” Onyeama said.
On his part, the Tunisian Minister Foreign Affairs, Mr Khemaise Jhinaoui expressed the belief 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 by both countries would enhance the relationship between the two countries especially in the area of business and technology.
He noted with the concern that the business relations between Nigeria and Tunisia were still below expectation.
‘‘We have already existing relations but the economic relation is still below expectation. Currently the trade pattern does not reflect their long term relations,” he said.
He said that there were various opportunities available in Tunisia that could be tapped into by Nigeria and businessmen to further enhance the existing relations.
The two day forum which is facilitated by Nigerian Chamber of Commerce and Industry will witness the signing of various trade agreements between government agencies and the private sectors of the two countries.