The outgoing Nigeria ambassador to Senegal, Mathew Adole, has called for a review of trade agreement between both countries for improved economic relations. Mr. Adole made the call on Friday in Dakar at the extra-ordinary summit of the Head of States and Governments of ECOWAS member countries. President Goodluck Jonathan was in Dakar on Thursday to attend the summit where there were deliberations on the political crises in Mali and Guinea Bissau.
Mr. Adole said that the level of informal trade between Nigeria and Senegal is much higher than that of the formal and recorded trade. He said there is the need to review the trend within the framework of the existing bi-national commission of both countries. “A lot of Nigerian traders come here to buy and go to Nigeria and sell and vice-versa. “But we are trying to, within the framework of the existing Senegal-Nigeria Joint Commission, to review trade agreement between the two countries so that there can be formal trade and we can document even some of these informal trades. “Recently I had an audience with the president of the Chamber of Commerce here and I told him clearly that Nigeria is an investment destination.
Mr. Adole held that the climate of investment in Nigeria is very favourable and urged Senegal to ignore all the negative publicity Nigeria is getting from some of the international media houses.
In a bid to explain away the security challenges in Nigeria, Mr. Adole said that the federal government is sorting out the security issue.
“The Federal Government is on top of the security situation in the country and government is doing a very good job”, he said.
“President Jonathan is a focused and visionary leader who needs the support of all and sundry and by the grace of God, he is going to succeed,” he said. Mr. Adole also said that many Nigerian traders go to Senegal to buy and sew fabrics popularly called “Senegalese”, while many also go for informal training in fashion designing. He said about 5000 Nigerians live in Senegal and they are grouped into three categories: those in the professional category who are in top positions in international organizations; the businessmen and those engaged in menial jobs. The diplomat said there are also many Nigerian clerics in Senegal and that Nigeria and Senegal have cultural and religios affinity which dates back to centuries. “Culturally for instance, we have a lot of similarities in what we do. The Fulani ethnic group from here and that from Nigeria do things in common. Mr. Adole also spoke about the last Senegalese presidential elections and attributed the success to the people of that country.
He said “they defended their mandate”. “Initially there were fears that the election would be derailed, but it went smoothly and we thank God and the international community that sent observers from the AU, the EU and ECOWAS.”
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