By Modupe Gbadeyanka
Some foreign companies have concluded plans to invest about $140 million in Nigeria and Pakistan, both members of the Commonwealth nations.
This is expected to boost jobs and economic development in the Commonwealth’s growing market, especially in Nigeria and Pakistan.
Business Post reports that the new investments were announced as Pakistan and Nigeria joined 53 nations in London for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), with the benefits of intra-Commonwealth trade high on the agenda.
Global consumer brand, Unilever, will invest £86 million in new manufacturing capacity at its four factories in Pakistan.
Anglo-Dutch oil giant, Shell, will also invest up to £13 million by 2020 in around 100 new fuelling stations along the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) route. This will allow trucks carrying goods between the countries to refuel, driving increased trade.
Meanwhile, Dorset-based renewable energy firm, Low Energy Designs Limited UK, is launching ‘Light up Lagos’, a £38 million investment to deliver 40,000 low energy LED streetlights in the Nigerian business capital over the next four years.
The lights will improve safety and help tackle pollution and crime in Africa’s largest city, and create over 500 local jobs.
“As the Prime Minister has made clear, the Commonwealth has a unique opportunity to boost its trade links and drive prosperity and growth among its members.
“Pakistan and Nigeria are prime examples of this, with their growing trade with the UK and overseas investment powering economic growth,” UK’s Minister of State for International Trade, Mr Greg Hands, stated in a statement issued on Friday by the Department for International Development (DFID).
“Unilever, Shell, and Low Energy Designs are showing what UK companies can achieve in the Commonwealth’s growing market of 2.3 billion customers, and my department is ready to help,” Mr Hands said further in the statement obtained by Business Post.
During the Commonwealth meeting, the UK Trade Minister met with Pakistan’s Minister of Commerce, Muhammad Pervaiz Malik, and opened the London Stock Exchange this morning with Nigeria’s Minister of Industry, Trade, and Investment, Dr Okechukwu Enelamah.
It follows Mr Hands’ visit to Pakistan in September last year where the UK and Pakistan confirmed their ambition to increase bilateral trade.
The UK also confirmed its intention to maintain the preferential access Pakistan receives to UK markets to support Pakistan’s economic growth after the UK leaves the EU.
The UK is Pakistan’s biggest trade partner in the EU, with UK exports up over 13 percent in 2016, and 2 percent of all Britons have their roots in the country.
UK companies have already invested £5 billion in Nigeria, with bilateral annual trade worth £3.4 billion and Nigerian companies worth over £4.5 billion are already listed on the London Stock Exchange.
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