Successful Norwegian business visit to Nigeria & Ghana

The first Norwegian business mission to leave Norway in more than 20 months have just concluded successful visits to Nigeria and Ghana this week.

Panel conversation with investors at the Ghana-Norway Business & Investment Forum

This has been such an intense, inspiring, and productive week. Leaving a cold Norway for energizing Lagos and Accra has resulted in new connections and partnerships, says Mr. Eivind Fjeldstad, CEO of the Norwegian-African Business Association (NABA).

Needless to say, after 20 months prevented from taking business missions abroad, this was a visit we had been looking forward to, and both Lagos and Accra went above and beyond expectations. Our companies taking part in this visit are very pleased. New connections have been made, and new partnerships and investments will be the result of this week, says Fjeldstad.

Reconvene, reconnect and re-engage have been the overall focus for this visit, which has included large business forums in both countries, relevant site visits and cultural exchange, including the premiere of a stock fish opera at Muson in Lagos, hosted by the Norwegian Seafood Council. Nigeria is one of the top importers of Norwegian stock fish – but this is the first time the fish has been featured on the opera scene in Lagos.

Follow-up from high level visits

NABA, together with Innovation Norway and Norwegian Energy Partners, brought more than 20 companies and 40 representatives from both private sector and government to West Africa, including Deputy Minister Bjørg Sandkjær from the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Bård Vegar Solhjell, the Director General from Norad and Ylva Lindberg and Ellen Cathrine Rasmussen from the management team of Norfund, the Norwegian government’s investment fund. The visit to West Africa comes as a follow-up to Ghana’s president Akufo-Addo’ visit to Norway in February last year, and Nigeria’s Vice-President prof. Yemi Osinbajo visit to the Nordic-African Business Summit in October 2019.

Growing cities in focus

The companies taking part in the business mission came from sectors such as renewable energy, oil & gas, technology and providers of sustainable solutions for growing cities.

More than 750 million Africans will move to cities between 2015 – 2050, according to the World Bank. As I was recently told: this equals building New York City from scratch twice a year, and represents great opportunities and challenges. Norwegian companies have solutions and we have been grateful to be able to showcase companies who are ready to partner with companies in Ghana and Nigeria, says Fjeldstad. In Ghana, the delegation was able to experience a new urban development project, Appolonia City, established by Rendeavour. The company has Norwegian co-investors and are building new cities in both Ghana and Nigeria.

Job creation and technology

In Accra the business mission met the next generation of job creators at the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST) established by Mr. Jørn Lyseggen, founder and chairman of Meltwater.

If you want to leave Ghana on a positive note, go and see some of the inspiring companies that have come out of MEST. These are the job creators of tomorrow, says Fjeldstad.

In Lagos, the Nordic embassies in Nigeria organized Nordic-Nigeria Connect, where the Lagos governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu opened the event and where business magnate Tony Elumelu gave a speech.

In Accra, the Ghana – Norway Business & Investment Forum, brought together more than 150 business people, and Ghana’s president Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo was the guest of honour.

We are grateful to all our partners and friends in both countries, but we would like to especially acknowledge the contributions from Norwegian ambassador Ingrid Mollestad in Ghana, and Knut E. Lein in Nigeria. They both contributed to the success of this visit, and we are grateful to have Norwegian ambassadors that are giving economic diplomacy such a top priority, says Fjeldstad.


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