Smooth operator: in conversation: HE Nonye Rajis-Okpara, High Commissioner for Nigeria in Singapore.

Position:SINGAPORE--AFRICA - Dialogue with her excellency - Interview

Nigeria is one of the few African countries to have a full diplomatic mission in Singapore. Her Excellency Nonye Rajis-Okpara (pictured) was appointed the High Commissioner in 2012. She is reputed to have injected new vitality and energy into her post and to have raised the level of interaction between the two countries several fold.

What is the current state of bilateral trade and diplomatic relations with Singapore?

Diplomatic relations between Nigeria and Singapore are very cordial and have continued to move forward, especially in the international fora.

The volume of exports from Singapore to Nigeria in 2013 amounted to S$2i.247bn ($i7.ibn) while exports from Nigeria to Singapore came to S$5.4m ($4.2m).

Imports from Nigeria include soya beans, sesame seeds, groundnuts, cashew, cocoa and some precious stones, all in their raw state. Exports from Singapore are mostly electronics, cars, spare parts and general services.

As you may be aware, Temasek Holdings, in conjunction with IFC, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, and its subsidiary, the IFC's African, Latin American and Caribbean Fund, have invested $i5om, $75m and $3om respectively in a Nigerian firm, Seven Energy. Temasek Holdings is the principal investor. It has also bought 50% shares in Olam Nigeria.

You have been very active in establishing greater cooperation with Singapore since you took over your position two years ago. Can you give more examples of cooperation with Singaporean companies?

There have a number of MOUs as well as agreements. For example, SmartCity Resorts Pic has signed an MOU with Surbana International Consultants for the establishment of a smart city in the capital, Abuja; the Nigeria Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC) and the IE Singapore have signed an MOU to set up a framework for trade, industry and investment; the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) and Hyflux Limited have signed an MOU for water treatment and also with Surbana for the urban redevelopment of Abuja.

Other significant developments include the construction of a deepwater port in Nigeria by the Tolaram Group; cooperation between the Cross River State of Nigeria and Wilmar International in the area of plantations and palm oil mills; the construction of a container port by Pacific International Lines (PIL) for the Ogun State government and Vector Scorecard is working with the FCTA to provide its expertise to promote workforce development as well as stimulate micro...

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