Emirates Airlines will restart flights to Nigeria immediately

Emirates Airlines is set to immediately recommence its flight operations to Nigeria and has lifted the visa ban on Nigerian travelers. This decision was reached after a meeting between the leaders of both countries, according to a statement from the Nigerian presidency on Monday. The meeting, which took place in Abu Dhabi, was between President Bola Ahmed Tinubu of Nigeria and President Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan of the United Arab Emirates. The leaders agreed to lift the visa ban and discussed new investment opportunities in Africa's largest economy.


President Tinubu was in Abu Dhabi en route from the G20 summit in India, where he had been promoting investment opportunities in Nigeria. He had previously expressed his desire for a swift resolution to the issues with Emirates Airlines and the visa restrictions imposed by the Arab nation. The visa issuance to Nigerians was halted last year by the UAE after Emirates suspended its flights due to difficulties in repatriating funds from Nigeria. Etihad Airlines also ceased its flights to Nigeria. The president's spokesperson, Ajuri Ngelale, stated that the immediate resumption of flight activities between the two countries does not require any immediate payment from the Nigerian government.


Nigeria, Africa's leading oil producer, has been grappling with dollar shortages. This has posed challenges for foreign airlines selling tickets in Nigerian naira, as they have found it difficult to repatriate their earnings. President Tinubu has initiated some of the country's most significant reforms in recent years, which have been well-received by investors. These include scrapping a widely used but expensive petrol subsidy and lifting currency restrictions, leading to a devaluation of the naira. However, liquidity is yet to be restored in the official market, with the naira still trading at a premium on the black market.

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Ngelale mentioned that President Tinubu has negotiated a new foreign exchange liquidity program with the UAE government. More details about this will be revealed in the coming weeks. He also stated that both leaders have laid down a framework for new investments worth several billions of dollars into various sectors of the Nigerian economy. These sectors include defense and agriculture among others, and will be facilitated by UAE's investment arms.

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