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Tuesday, January 2, 2024

UAE Firms Invest $375.01m in Nigeria Despite Visa Ban

UAE Firms Invest $375.01m in Nigeria Despite Visa Ban

Private investors from the United Arab Emirates’ investments hit $375.01m in the country since a visa ban was placed on Nigeria in October 2022.

Data from the latest Capital Importation report of the National Bureau of Statistics also showed that UAE investors sent $258.2m into the country between January and September 2023.

This was an increase of 56.51 per cent from the $164.97m sent in the first three quarters of 2022. In total, since the visa ban in October, a total of $ 375.1m had been invested in Nigeria from the UAE.

The total figure for October 2022 to March 2023 was almost up to the total of $281.78m recorded for the entire year of 2022.

A breakdown showed that $116.82m was invested in Q4 of 2022, while $108.28, $101.13 and $48.78 were invested in the first three quarters of 2023.

In 2022, the UAE banned nationals of Nigeria and a few other African countries from entering its capital city, Dubai.

“This is to inform you that we will not be posting 30 days visa applications for these nationalities effective today October 18, 2022,” the notice read in part.

Aside from Nigeria, other countries affected by the visa ban included Uganda, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Cameroon, Liberia, Burundi, Republic of Guinea, Gambia, Togo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Senegal, Benin, Ivory Coast, Congo, Rwanda, Burkina Faso, Guinea Bissau, Comoros, and the Dominican Republic.

In a notice issued to trade partners, including travel agents, it was indicated that all applications should be rejected.

“Any applications from the above-mentioned countries will be sent back or cancelled,” it read.

This was not the first time some African countries had been banned from entering Dubai.

However, despite frantic efforts by the past and current administrations, the Arab nation was still hesitant to open its borders for economic activities.

In February 2023, former President Muhammadu Buhari, called for the lifting of the blanket visa ban on Nigerians by the government of the United Arab Emirates.

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The president made the request while condoling with the President of the United Arab Emirates, Mohamed bin Zayed, on the death of his mother-in-law.

“The President requested his UAE counterpart to review the blanket visa ban imposed on Nigerians intending to travel to the UAE, recalling that mutually beneficial excellent relations had subsisted between the two nations over many years, symbolised by robust economic interactions and regular consultations on matters of common interest, including engagements at the highest political levels,” a spokesperson of the former President, Garba Shehu, said in a statement.

In September, the presidency claimed to have finalised a historic agreement which resulted in the immediate cessation of the visa ban placed on Nigerian travellers.

A statement by the Special Adviser to the President on Media & Publicity, Ajuri Ngelale, said, “President Bola Tinubu and the President of the United Arab Emirates, Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, on Monday in Abu Dhabi, finalised a historic agreement which has resulted in the immediate cessation of the visa ban placed on Nigerian travellers.

“By this historic agreement, both Etihad Airlines and Emirates Airlines are to immediately resume flight schedules into and out of Nigeria, without any further delay. As negotiated between the two heads of states, this immediate restoration of flight activity, through these two airlines and between the two countries, does not involve any immediate payment by the Nigerian government.”

Some days later, the announcement turned out to be false as an official of the UAE government in an interview debunked that the information was a far cry from the situation on ground, adding that there were “no changes on the Nigeria/UAE travel status so far.”

Also in November, President Bola Tinubu met officials of the UAE at the Presidential Villa, at the State House to resolve issues on the visa row between the two countries.

Meanwhile, the latest figures revealed a significant increase in foreign capital from Niger Republic to Nigeria, marking a 663.5 per cent surge compared to the $2m recorded in Q4, 2021 (that was the last time Nigeria recorded capital inflow from Niger before Q3, 2023 according to NBS data).

BFIA Admin
BFIA Admin
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