The European Union has said Nigeria was one of the biggest beneficiaries of its education mobility and cooperation scheme. It also noted that over 2,000 Nigerians benefited from its Erasmus scholarship scheme in the last year.
The EU head of international partnership, Jutta Urpilainen made this known on Thursday, in Abuja, during the official launch of its Global Gateway Initiative.
According to Urpilainen, the GGI was crafted to enhance connectivity, promote sustainable development and strengthen economic ties between the EU and its partner countries, including Nigeria.
Furthermore, through the initiative, the EU will support Nigeria to achieve enhanced infrastructure connectivity, including transport, energy, and digital networks; support agriculture, economic growth, health and education; promote sustainable development and environmental protection; and foster cooperation and partnerships with Nigeria and other partner countries.
She said, “We are living in an increasingly fragmented world. The war that Russia started against Ukraine last year, the military takeover in Niger in July, and the escalation in the Israel-Palestine conflict, are just stark reminders of that.”
Speaking further, she noted that the gateway strategy is needed ‘to build resilient connections in the world through strategic partnerships to jointly address the challenges of our times from fighting climate change to improving health systems.
“Together, we intend to mobilise 300 billion Euros in investments by the year 2027, half of them for Africa. For Africa, it is 150 billion Euros by the year 2027. When it comes to Nigeria, Nigeria features prominently in the Global Gateway investment package.”
Jutta, while stating that the EU will support the 5G rollout in Nigeria, added that as part of efforts to support the digital economy, it is working on a potential loan to support Small and Medium Enterprises in the digital and print sectors.
She also stated that the EU has committed financial resources to support the energy sector, including the setting up of mini-grids and small hydropower plants for productive and public purposes.
She added, “Last year, we launched a digital economic package for Nigeria. With EU and European Investment Banks, investments worth 820 million Euros is a lot of money. We are already supporting the rollout of digital IDs nationwide and mobile network expansion with MTN in Lagos and other states.
“We are also about to launch the construction of a line between Katsina and Daura twin lines, and we are proposing to reinforce the Nigeria-Benin interconnection of the framework of the West African power pole.
“Education is the most transformative investment one can make, and I am very glad to launch the empowerment in North Western Nigeria Project. I think this project is a tangible sign of our cooperation with the Government to promote quality basic education in the northern regions.”
She stated further, “Nigeria is also a major beneficiary of the student mobility and higher education cooperation project under Erasmus+. I was looking at the figures, last year, over 2,020 students from Nigeria were granted scholarships for studying in the EU.
“Global Gateway reinforces the EU-Nigeria partnership. It brings opportunities to all. We want to continue working together with you to take our partnership to a higher level of shared prosperity. We will do that together with the Government, Member States, Civil Society Organizations, as well as with the business community.”
In his remarks, the Minister of Communication, Innovation and Digital Economy, Bosun Tijani, stressed that initiatives like the Global Gateway, aimed at achieving collective regional and global prosperity, are in full alignment with President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s renewed hope agenda.
He emphasised that the core of this administration’s agenda is a developed Nigeria that is not only for a few but for all, providing the government with the opportunity to actualise its plans in sectors that it wants to focus on.
He said, “Africa’s relationship with Europe has deep historical roots, and has been built on years of shared values, collaboration and mutual respect. While we enjoy geographical proximity, we also have increasingly intertwined cultures, and more importantly, a shared future. As we seek a better future together, we can only fully actualize and realize this dream by leveraging the ties that we have always had.
“We can build a more resilient world. If we empower and enable Africa to leverage its resources to contribute to the world while strengthening its local economies. On the other hand, working together with the EU allows us to leverage its structure and historical resources to do more for the world, specifically for Africa.
“For us in the Ministry of Communication, Innovation and Digital Economy, our role takes on further significance as we have a portfolio that will be central to all we want to achieve under the Global Gateway program.
“Nigeria is an extremely blessed country; not only are we blessed with natural resources that can provide opportunities for us to help meet global challenges and food security, but we are also blessed with a very young, agile population.
“As a continent, Africa is blessed with a population of about 40 per cent of young people under the age of 25, which is extremely exciting. Nigeria in particular is blessed with about 60 per cent of our population being under the age of 25.
“This population of young people are digital natives. The investment of our Government is providing opportunities for these young people to participate in the global economy. While doing that, we are conscious of the fact that these resources are not only for the development of Nigeria but the development of the world as a whole.”
Madukwe B. Nwabuisi is an accomplished journalist renown for his fearless reporting style and extensive expertise in the field. He is an investigative journalist, who has established himself as a kamikaze reporter.