Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu has expressed his government’s willingness to expand its relationship with the Netherlands in different sectors, especially the agricultural ostensibly to ensure food security in the state.

The Governor who spoke through the Deputy Governor, Dr. Kadri Obafemi Hamzat, while receiving on behalf of the Governor, the Netherlands Minister of Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, Mr. Geoffrey Leeuwen and his contemporary in Migration, Mr. Eric van der Burg at his official residence Osborne-Ikoyi, stated that the bilateral relationship has existed between Nigeria and Netherlands for over 400 years.

Sanwo-Olu noted that his administration is ready to strengthen the existing relationship with the Netherlands, in different sectors like agriculture, technology, healthcare, circular economy, energy among other sectors. Saying, “we are willing to implement some of the lessons we have learnt from the Netherlands, particularly to enhance food production, storage, amongst others”.

Speaking further on the existing relationships between Lagos and Netherlands, the Governor recorded that “the simulation for Eco-Atlantic was done in the Netherlands by a Netherland company and they are still here, so that both countries have a lot of history of the relationship and of course here in Lagos”.

While hoping that the trade flow between both countries increases, he said that the balance of trade flow between both countries in 2022 was at 8 billion euros, with the hope that it would increase to 16 billion euros. “It is for this reason we have brought experts in different areas to actualize this collaboration”, added the Governor.

Earlier in his remarks, the Netherlands Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, HR Geoffrey van Leeuwen stated that the Dutch government is committed to promoting sustainable, inclusive growth and transitions in Nigeria through various partnerships.

According to Leeuwen, the Netherlands government is committed to work on transitions that are crucial to the economy and business opportunities in both the Netherlands and Nigeria, with specific interest in Lagos.

“We are looking forward to continuing our excellent economic cooperation with the governor and his cabinet. We will continue to bring high-level visits and trade missions to “The Center of Excellence,” he said.

The Dutch Minister reiterated that since Nigeria’s independence, the Netherlands has been one of Nigeria’s most important trading partners and vice versa. He therefore emphasized five key business sectors for collaboration, namely; agriculture, IT, circular economy, healthcare and renewable energy.

Similarly, the Netherlands Minister for Migration, Mr. Eric van der Burg, noted that the Netherlands is committed to its migration partnership with Nigeria, based on mutual priorities and to sustainable reintegration and opportunities for youth.

“Netherlands is committed to working closely with Lagos State, especially within the challenging field of migrant smuggling and human trafficking”, assured Eric van der Burg.

The Minister for Migration noted that “Nigeria’s population could double within the next 25 to 30 years. All young people will seek opportunities to create a bright future for themselves. We will work together to create opportunities and plan to create at least 15,000 jobs in the next four years, through various incubation and vocational programs.”

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