Nigeria eyes increased trade and tourism with new visa policy

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ABUJA- (Reuters) – Nigeria has eased its visa rules an effort to boost trade and tourism as an African trade agreement promoting freer movement of goods and services comes into effect, interior minister Rauf said .

“The objective of the reforms … is to strengthen Nigeria’ position as a key economy Africa by attracting more foreign direct investment … and lifting Nigeria’ teeming population out of ,” said.

The new visa policy is expected to boost tourism, , entertainment, commerce and areas where Nigeria has comparative advantage over African countries, said, adding that African nationals be able to get a visa arrival Nigeria.

Muhammadu Buhari said the new policy would improve the business environment, attract foreign investment and boost tourism without compromising security.

Nigeria has grappled with low growth since recovering from a recession four years ago. Buhari has pledged to revive the economy, but investors have been waiting for policy signals that could lift growth.

In July, Buhari signed up to the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, which aims to unite 1.3 people and create a $3.4 trillion bloc that could usher in a new era of development.

Nigeria, like most African countries, has a limited manufacturing base and relies imports mostly from to meet the bulk of its needs. Intra-African trade is low, hampered by weak and visa restrictions.

Some fear the new trade deal could turn Africa into a dumping ground for countries on the continent with better manufacturing capacity.

Last week the United States issued a travel ban targeting prospective immigrants from Nigeria and five countries, a move that could affect thousands of people and harm business sentiment.