Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari met with his counterpart from the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Crown Prince, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Al Nahyan yesterday, as both nations signed bilateral agreements.
President Buhari is in Dubai as a guest of honour in the World Future Energy Summit which began on the 18th of this month and is scheduled to end tomorrow. He was accompanied by high-ranking Nigerian officials such as the Minister for Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola and the Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun among others. The signed agreements between both nations are set to mark the beginning of a nuanced bilateral relationship between the two countries.
Here are three things we learnt from Buhari’s visit to the UAE:
Less oil and more sources of alternative energy
The summit focused on how nations can generate energy especially, independent of oil. For President Buhari, his attendance at the summit solidifies his agenda to diversify the Nigerian economy and reduce its dependence on oil in every aspect. The presence of the Minister for Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, in his delegation, also indicates the country’s readiness to work on new ways to generate power. Alternative sources discussed in the summit include solar energy and wind energy; two resources Nigeria has in excess.
A new partnership in the fight against corruption
President Buhari’s signed a bilateral agreement regarding the repatriation of stolen funds and extradition of corrupt officials. Many suggest that the UAE has become a haven for corrupt Nigerian officials who need a place to hide their illegal wealth by acquiring choice properties in the gulf state. This agreement seeks to curb that.
Buhari’s interest in foreign investors
The agreements signed by both countries’ Trade and Investment Ministers suggest that President Buhari is quite interested in attracting foreign investors. There have been several accusations made by the opposition that Buhari’s policies are not foreign-investment-friendly and that he is not doing enough to encourage a free market economy in Nigeria. However, considering Buhari’s recent trips to France, China, India it’s clear foreign investment is on the president’s agenda.