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British Deputy High Commissioner Boosts Economic Ties During Oyo State Visit

7th March 2024 – Lagos

In a significant move to strengthen bilateral relations, the British Deputy High Commissioner, Mr Jonny Baxter, concluded a three-day high-profile visit to Oyo State, Nigeria, from 5th to 7th March 2024. The visit aimed to deepen the longstanding partnership between the United Kingdom and Oyo State, focusing on economic development and trade opportunities.

Mr Baxter engaged in a series of strategic meetings with His Excellency, Engr. Oluwaseyi Makinde, the Executive Governor of Oyo State, and other key members of the state Assembly. Emphasizing the UK’s commitment to fostering economic growth, particularly in the agribusiness sector, discussions centered on collaborative efforts to create jobs and enhance the overall relationship between the UK and Oyo State.

During the meeting, the British Deputy High Commissioner highlighted the UK-funded Agro storage and research facilities in the state, emphasizing the commitment to facilitate investments that will contribute to the state’s economic development.

Speaking on the significance of the visit, Mr Jonny Baxter stated, “Visiting Oyo state is a great opportunity to engage and interact with key stakeholders, to learn and gain insights about some of our UK-funded programmes and the impact they have made so far, and the challenges and opportunities identified.”

He further expressed optimism about the growth of the partnership, stating, “I believe our partnership, at all levels, will continue to grow, and I look forward to playing my part.”

In a noteworthy moment, the British Deputy High Commissioner participated in the commissioning of the British International Investment (BII) funded Valency agro-processing complex in Ibadan. This ambitious project, once completed, is expected to fortify collaborations with local farmers and processing centers, generating employment for up to 2,800 individuals among low-income communities and impacting approximately 60,000 farmers.

Mr Baxter emphasized the UK’s commitment to sustainable agriculture in Nigeria, stating, “The UK’s sustainable agriculture work in Nigeria aims to catalyze an agriculture and food systems transformation that delivers benefits for people, climate, and nature.”

He expressed delight at the fruition of the investment, saying, “I am delighted to see this new UK investment come to fruition to help enhance value addition in Nigeria’s food processing and export capabilities, creating jobs and improving livelihood opportunities across the nation.”

Throughout the visit, the Deputy High Commissioner engaged with key stakeholders in the state government, business contacts, and traditional leaders to assess the impact of ongoing projects and initiatives on the lives of the people in the state.

The meetings served as a platform for exploring additional investment and trade partnerships, with the potential to boost the state’s economic growth and create more job opportunities.

As the UK continues to demonstrate its commitment to fostering strong economic ties with Oyo State, the visit marks a pivotal moment in the ongoing partnership, laying the groundwork for sustainable development and mutual prosperity.

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