Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State has emphasised the abundant opportunities arising from the growing Africa-Caribbean relationship facilitated by the African Export Import Bank (Afreximbank) AfriCaribbean Trade and Investment Forum (ACTIF).
Speaking on the sidelines of the 2nd AfriCaribbean Trade and Investment Forum (ACTIF2023) in Georgetown, Guyana, Sanwo-Olu highlighted the potential for enhanced commercial collaboration between the Caribbean region and Africa. This collaboration aims to promote increased inter-regional trade and investment, building on the success of the inaugural edition held in Barbados in September 2022.
Sanwo-Olu noted the geographical proximity between West Africa and the Caribbean, which significantly reduces the travel time for trade and investment. He emphasised the advantages of this proximity for fostering economic ties and mentioned several sectors with promising opportunities.
“It is a straight travel down here; seven hours to eight hours 45 minutes air trip. That is even from Lagos. If you take it from Dakar, or Banjul, Gambia; Guinea, it would be about three hours or so. So, what that means is that the Caribbeans, South America, is closest to West Africa. If we have trade, it is going to take you far less time to be able to send goods down to the Caribbean directly, compared to going to North America or to go to Europe before it gets to the Caribbean. So, all of that in itself presents an opportunity that we all need to sit back and reflect on. The population might not be there but the opportunities are enormous, in the oil and gas, airlines, if it is in manufacturing, tourism among others,” the governor stated.
Sanwo-Olu, who leads the largest economy in Nigeria, expressed his interest in exploring opportunities in the Caribbean Islands to further develop Lagos State. He commended the Heads of Government for their commitments to support local businesses, African businesses, and collaborative partnerships between the two regions.
“Afreximbank is showing the lead in this area. The least will be to encourage them, help them open these frontiers, and help them see the benefits that they can both enjoy with the two regions and cultural values through collaborations like this,” he added.