Nigeria is West African's largest economy. It is Africa's most populous nation; a leader in the collective quest for an African continent fully prepared to assume its rightful place in global affairs. It is, therefore, naturally a strategic partner for the EU. Under our partnership which has been evolving since 1976, the EU is committed to Nigeria's socio-economic and political development. The EU is also committed to support Nigeria's efforts in promoting peace and security and in supporting efforts to further reinforce good governance and human rights.
There are several compelling reasons why we are committed to make this work: Nigeria's economic and social strength; its evolving democratic institutions; its role in promoting democracy and stability in Africa generally, and particularly in West Africa; its increasing influence on the international scene; its weight in the war against poverty; its central position in the management of migration flows; its tradition of tolerance and openness, which deserves being supported and protected;
Since 1999 when it returned to democratic rule, Nigeria has recorded some success as it grapples with the challenges of development. But like other developing countries of the world, it still has challenges to surmount. The EU is convinced that if the momentum is sustained and the drive towards good governance and human rights, which are a major focus of our development partnership and of the EU's foreign policy, is pursued with greater vigour, our shared aspiration for a better Nigeria will be realised.