The Acting High Commissioner of Canada to Nigeria, Nicolas Simard, says Nigeria is the second-largest trading partner of Canada in Africa.
Simard stated this while speaking on the celebration of 2021 Canadian National Day in Abuja
The envoy said the strong relationship between both countries cuts across all sectors, including diplomacy, trade, development and humanitarian assistance among others.
He said the excellent trade relations had seen a boost as Nigeria has become its second trading partner in the continent after South Africa.
Simard said: “Canada and Nigeria have excellent bilateral relations; we have a relationship that dates back to 1960 after independence.
“We have about $1.4 billion of trade exchange last year, so that is a very significant amount.
“And of course there is the oil sector that accounts for a big part of that and also the food industry, in terms of import from Canada to Nigeria, it is also the processed food.
“In terms of export from Canada to Nigeria, we have Aircraft, Vessels, Cars, Manufacturers, so it is a very strong relations and we would like to do more.”
Simard, however, noted that not much had been explored in the partnership in the areas of climate change, renewable energy and clean technology.
He added that Canada had a lot of expertise in those areas which could be transferred and impacted in Nigeria considering the power challenge in the country.
The envoy noted that once the challenge of power was effectively addressed in Nigeria, it would attract more investors to the country.
He said: “We have a lot of expertise in these areas in Canada.
“In Montreal, most of our electricity comes from hydro-power and we have a lot of expertise in solar power.
“There is also Canadian Company in Nigeria, EM-ONE, that is very engaged in providing solar energy in Nigeria.
“I see the challenge of access to energy and how can you do business if you do not have access to energy.”
He said both countries could expand much more to bringing Canadian expertise and technology to Nigeria.
Simard also commended the people-to-people relations between Canada and Nigeria, noting that there are more than 55,000 Canadians of Nigerian origin and still growing.
He added that the education sector was another area that had fostered the people-to-people ties between both countries with over 12,000 Nigerian students coming to study in Canada.
He said: “There is a big appetite for Canadian Universities, Canadian Colleges and also for Canadian Institutions and they can also to come here and provide courses here in Nigeria.
“This is an area because we come from the same cultural background, Commonwealth, and we have same kind of institutions, constitutional and political systems, and federalism.
“So there is more we can share there, with all of the youths booming in Nigeria and looking for opportunities to learn, obviously there is a big space in Canada.”