U.K.’s May Pledges Closer Ties Between Nigeria, City of London

(Bloomberg) -- Prime Minister Theresa May banked pledges for London Stock Exchange listings from Nigerian billionaire Aliko Dangote and Seplat Petroleum Development Co. as she announced plans to bolster ties between the City of London and Nigeria.

Seplat on Wednesday committed to list $350 million of Eurobonds issued earlier this year on the LSE, May’s office said in a statement. That comes on top of Dangote’s commitment to list Dangote Cement Plc, valued at $10.8 billion, on the same exchange. Bloomberg reported last month that Africa’s richest man was considering an offering after Nigerian elections early next year.

U.K.’s May Pledges Closer Ties Between Nigeria, City of London

May landed in Abuja on Wednesday for the second leg of a three-day, three-nation trip to Africa. She’s using the visit to show the business and trade opportunities available to the U.K. around the world even as it negotiates its departure from the European Union, the largest trading bloc.

After meeting with Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, the premier flew to Lagos, where she is due to meet with business leaders and announce the formation of a U.K.-Nigeria fintech partnership.

“Already the finance and business links between Lagos and London are bringing enormous benefits to businesses and people in the U.K. and in Nigeria and today’s announcements deepen this burgeoning partnership even further,” May said. “As the U.K. leaves the European Union, it will play an even greater role in financing the fastest-growing economies across Africa and the world.”

In Abuja, the U.K. and Nigeria on Wednesday signed the first-ever security and defense pact that includes British support in helping Nigeria to protect soldiers and civilians from terrorist attacks and countering recruitment propaganda by the Islamist militant groups Boko Haram and Islamic State West Africa.

Under the agreement, the U.K. has offered to train army units and increase supplies of equipment to fight the militants in the northeast of the country where the nine-year-old conflict has claimed the lives of as many as 20,000 people and forced almost 2 million to flee their homes.

‘Fight Terrorism’

“We are determined to work side by side with Nigeria to help them fight terrorism, reduce conflict, and lay the foundations for the future stability and prosperity that will benefit us all,” May said.

A second accord will set up an economic development forum between the two countries, Nigerian Foreign Minister Geoffrey Onyeama said after the May-Buhari meeting.

“This clearly highlights the two priority areas in our relationship at the moment,” he said.

The U.K. is seeking to more than double its trade with Nigeria by 2030 from 4.2 billion pounds ($5.44 billion) last year to become the West African nation’s biggest bilateral partner, the British Deputy High Commissioner to Nigeria Laure Beaufils told journalists Monday.

In Nigeria, May will also

  • Visit securities exchange company FMDQ in Lagos
  • Announce support for Nigeria’s capital markets regulator
  • Pledge British expertise to support African entrepreneurs through a U.K.-Africa fintech partnership
  • Announce 2 million pounds ($2.6 million) in funding to support Nigerian innovators

May flew to Nigeria after meeting with South African President Cyril Ramaphosa in Cape Town. On Thursday, she’ll fly to Nairobi to meet with Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta.

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