Emirates Airlines is set to resume its flight schedules to Nigeria, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) will lift the visa ban on Nigerian travelers.
This decision follows a meeting between President Bola Ahmed Tinubu of Nigeria and President Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan of the UAE in Abu Dhabi.
President Tinubu, who was returning from the G20 summit in India, had been actively seeking a resolution to the disagreements with Emirates Airlines and the visa issues faced by Nigerian travelers.
Last year, the UAE suspended visa issuance to Nigerians due to difficulties in repatriating funds from Nigeria, which led to Emirates Airlines and Etihad Airlines suspending their flights to Nigeria.
The restoration of flight activities and the lifting of the visa ban come as a result of negotiations between the two leaders, and importantly, there is no immediate financial burden on the Nigerian government.
Nigeria, as Africa’s top oil producer, has faced challenges with dollar shortages, affecting foreign airlines that sell tickets in Nigerian naira currency.
President Tinubu has initiated significant reforms in Nigeria, including the removal of the costly petrol subsidy and the lifting of currency restrictions, although liquidity has yet to fully return to the official market, leading to a premium on the black market exchange rate.
As part of the discussions, President Tinubu negotiated a new foreign exchange liquidity program between the two governments, with further details to be announced in the coming weeks.
Additionally, both leaders have established a framework for new investments worth billions of dollars in various sectors, such as defense, agriculture, and others, through UAE’s investment arms.
This development marks a positive step towards strengthening the relationship between Nigeria and the UAE, facilitating travel, trade, and investments between the two nations.