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Netherlands Surges as Nigeria’s Second Largest Trade Partner, Overtaking India

Nigeria’s international trade dynamics witnessed a significant shift in 2023, with the Netherlands surpassing India to become the country’s second-largest trading partner. This development is revealed in the foreign trade statistics reports published by Nigeria’s National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

Out of Nigeria’s total foreign trade amounting to N71.8 trillion in 2023, its 14 major trading partners accounted for N45.4 trillion. However, Nigeria’s trade within Africa stood at N4.54 trillion, lower than the pre-COVID levels of N5.3 trillion, although exports to African nations reached N3.7 trillion, close to the N3.9 trillion recorded in 2019, suggesting the decline was primarily in imports.

China maintained its position as Nigeria’s primary trade partner, with the trade volume reaching an unprecedented high of N7.49 trillion in 2023, reflecting China’s dominant role in the Nigerian market through ongoing investments and trade agreements.

The Netherlands, however, experienced a dramatic surge in its trade volume with Nigeria, escalating to N6.32 trillion in 2023, up from N5.22 trillion the previous year, signifying a deepening economic connection between the two nations.

On the other hand, India, traditionally a major trade partner for Nigeria, recorded a trade volume of N5.9 trillion in 2023, an increase from N5.41 trillion in 2022 but insufficient to retain its position above the Netherlands in the trade rankings.

While the Netherlands’s total trade with Nigeria increased by about 21% year-on-year, trade with India rose by a marginal 4%, implying that when accounting for the impact of naira devaluation, the value of trade with India in 2023 may be similar or even lesser compared to the previous year.

This shift in trade standings could be attributed to strategic moves by the Netherlands to enhance bilateral ties through key sectors such as agriculture, technology, and sustainable energy, as well as the country’s geographic and logistical advantages, including major ports like Rotterdam.

The changes in Nigeria’s trade partnerships reflect broader global economic trends, where nations actively diversify their economic links and seek new markets amid global uncertainties. Initiatives like the Nigeria-Netherlands Bilateral Working Group (BWG) and the recent investment treaty signed by both countries have contributed to strengthening economic partnerships.

During President Bola Tinubu’s recent official visit to the Netherlands, Prime Minister Mark Rutte announced the activation of $250 million in fresh investments in Nigeria, further solidifying the deepening economic ties between the two nations.