A Nigerian businessman recently met with the Antigua and Barbuda government to discuss the possibility of establishing a new manufacturing enterprise in the region.
The businessman, who arrived at the inaugural Air Peace flight last Saturday, has proposed a pharmaceutical enterprise that would focus on producing medicines for individuals with chronic non-communicable diseases like hypertension and diabetes.
The delegation includes individuals in the oil and gas, construction and land development, and manufacturing industries.
Prime Minister Gaston Browne, has welcomed the gesture.
“As you know, the Caribbean region has the highest prevalence of NCD’s; having such a factory here would be of significance not only to Antiguans and Barbudans but individuals throughout the OECS and the wider Caribbean region,” Prime Minister Gaston Browne said
Browne said Antigua and Barbuda is set to benefit greatly from the recent visit of business, political, and social leaders from Nigeria.
He has been at the forefront where establishing a bridge between the Caribbean and Africa is concerned
“In 2021, I was the CARICOM chair who presided over the first CARICOM-African Summit. I even recommended that we should designate September 07 as Africa Caricom Day …I have been among the leadership within the Caribbean space that has been promoting the establishment of stronger relations with Africa, trade and investments, as well as opportunities for people-to-people exchanges,” he said
But in order to actualize these advances, Browne said “We, must be able to move people, and if we can’t then that vision will remain unrealized”
Meanwhile, Air Peace CEO Allen Onyema announced that the airline would launch direct commercial flights between Antigua and Barbuda and Nigeria before the end of the year, with VCBIA serving as the hub.
Air Peace plans to acquire 70% of LIAT 2020, with Antigua and Barbuda serving as the headquarters for the new airline.
This will enable Air Peace to fly people from West and Central Africa to Nigeria, from where they will be flown directly to VCBIA.
LIAT will then fly them onwards to other destinations in the region. Onyema also promises an initial 40% reduction in ticket prices for these flights.
“Antigua and Barbuda will be the hub for the entire Caribbean. This country occupies a central position in the community of CARICOM nations and your geographical location is also very good with a very good and accommodating airport. We are going to bring people from the ‘Motherland’- Africa, to the Caribbean. Air Peace will be acquiring 70 percent of LIAT 2020,”
The new LIAT 2020 will also fly into destinations such as the United States and Canada.
“People now know there is a bridge coming to close the gap between Africa and the Caribbean. We’re going to take people from West and Central Africa; fly them to Nigeria from where they will be flown directly to the VCBIA and use it as a hub to distribute to other places,” he further explained. Antigua would also serve as the meeting point for the return flight to Africa.
The Nigerian government has approved Air Peace’s application to operate on the Nigeria/Antigua and Barbuda route.
Overall, this visit has opened up exciting collaboration and cooperation opportunities between Antigua, Barbuda, and Nigeria.