Not to go too academic or even vague, the simplest way to attempt understanding why European Union is in Nigeria is to squarely see the body as a partner in progress.
Let’s even continue this way, after Nigeria returned to democracy in 1999, it was expected that the nation engaged actively with the global community if for the sake of peace, security, development and even democratization at home and across the African continent.
In truth, following the return of Nigeria to civilian government in 1999, Nigeria has consistently repositioned itself in and for the EU to help advancing her national interests.
A great example was in 2009 when the two parties signed the “Nigeria-EU Joint Way Forward,” which highlighted guidelines for developmental co-operation between the two entities.
Information in the EU website sums it better: “Key elements in the EU-Nigeria partnership are regular political dialogues and strengthened collaboration to fight violent extremism.”
“Improve peace and security, migration, good governance, democracy, human rights, trade and regional integration; and to address key development issues, including energy, water and sanitation, health, food security, resilience, environmental sustainability and climate change, and as well, enhance regional cooperation.”
As a Nigerian, you may ask: “Has the EU walked the talk?” Oh yes! Did you even know that EU has been present in Nigeria for over 45 years, supporting the Government and the people of Nigeria in economic and social development efforts, developing trade, political and cultural relations between Naija and Europe.
Just recently, EU offered Nigeria $1.3 billion to help diversify its economy in earnest. The funding will cover about 57 projects, including nature-based measures to reduce climate change vulnerability, combating deforestation and desertification, and a waste-to-energy initiative in Cross River State.
In fact, Reuters reported that a document from the EU showed that the funding will be provided until 2027 under the EU’s “Green Deal” initiative.
You already know that over the years, the Nigerian government has tried to diversify the nation’s economy away from oil with very little success.
In addition: “In parallel, the European Investment Bank (EIB) sovereign lending will support the agri-food sector access to markets by financing rural roads, as well as climate adaptation and mitigation efforts,” Reuters stated.
Need we say that all these are just a drop compared to the huge impact the EU has always etched on the Nigerian soil.
However, despite its high level of involvement and funding, knowledge and understanding of the EU’s efforts in Nigeria and the region remains at a very low level.
Bet you do not really know the exact projects which the EU has got its footprint on – the reason being that people end up taken the shine for virtually all EU’s development assistance programmes.
“So how do I become up to date with EU funded projects, going forward” you wonder? Not far to fetch. You can start by following the ‘Nigerian EU’ across all social media pages and spare a moment sometime to drop by the EU’s website.
Most importantly, always help to SHARE posts like this if for the sake of helping just another Nigerian aware that the EU has been significant development partner of Nigeria and the West African region all along.