The European Union will disburse €150 billion in four years by 2027 through its Global Gateway Initiative to Nigeria and other African countries to enhance infrastructure in over eight sectors.
The EU commissioner for International Partnerships, Jutta Urpilainen, said this during the launch of the Global Gateway initiative on Thursday in Abuja.
According to Ms Urpilainen, the Global Gateway initiative is crafted to enhance connectivity, promote sustainable development, and strengthen economic ties between the EU and its partner countries, including Nigeria.
She said that through the initiative, the EU would support Nigeria to achieve enhanced infrastructure connectivity, including transport, energy, digital networks, agriculture, economic growth, health and education.
“It will also promote sustainable development and environmental protection and foster cooperation and partnerships with Nigeria and other partner countries. 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,” stated Ms Urpilainen.
The EU official added, “In such a world, the Global Gateway strategy is our positive offer 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.”
She revealed that the EU planned “to mobilise €300 billion in investments by the year 2027, and half of them for Africa; it is €150 billion by the year 2027; Nigeria features prominently in the Global Gateway investment package.”
Ms Urpilainen said the EU would support the 5G rollout in Nigeria as part of its efforts to support the digital economy, and it is working on a potential loan to support small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the digital and print sectors.
She added that the EU had committed financial resources to support the energy sector, including the setting up mini-grids and small hydropower plants for productive and public purposes.
“In 2022, we launched a digital economic package for Nigeria. With EU and European Investment Banks, investments worth €820 million. It is a lot of money. We are already supporting the rollout of digital IDs nationwide mobile network expansion with MTN in Lagos and other states,” explained the EU commissioner.
She added, “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.”
Ms Urpilainen said education is the most transformative investment anyone could make, so an empowerment project is being launched in the North-West in cooperation with the government to promote quality basic education in the northern regions.
She said Nigeria is also a major beneficiary of the student mobility and higher education cooperation project under Erasmus+, with more than 2,020 students from Nigeria granted scholarships for studying in the EU in 2022.
“The EU’s long-term commitment will see investments into the following sectors of the country: Agriculture (€42,000,000), Energy (€37,000,000), Health (€45,000,000), Digital (€55,000,000), education (€45,000,000), and Social Protection (€46,000,000),” Ms Urpilainen explained.