The Nigerian Ambassador to Russia, Prof. Abdullahi Yibaikwal, says enhanced trade and economic cooperation between Nigeria and Russia holds tremendous opportunity for international market penetration and economic growth.
Prof. Yibaikwal said this in Moscow during the Russia- Nigeria Business Conference organised by Nigerians in Diaspora Organisation (NIDO) Russia and Moscow Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
The Nigerian ambassador who was represented by the Counselor Economic, Trade and Investment (ET&I) Embassy of Nigeria, Moscow, Mercy Haruna, said the prospects for trade and economic cooperation between Nigeria, as an emerging economy, and Russia through inflow and outflow of trade and investment were very bright.
Prof. Yibaikwal noted that Nigeria had the largest market in Africa, with a population of over 200 million, projected to grow to over 400 million by 2050 adding that President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration intends to establish strong economic ties with all countries to harness Nigeria’s human and natural resources.
He listed the priority areas of investment in Nigeria to include; agriculture, manufacturing, solid minerals, services, construction, real estate, and oil and gas. “Nigeria has a huge market for Russian products, and we expect the economy to grow speedily with engagement of trade and investment between both countries,” he said.
The Ambassador, however, noted that the trade volume between both countries was very low, at less than one billion dollars.
“Exploring trade activities between both countries would assist to shore up the figure. The economic initiative of President Buhari’s administration has created a platform for profitable trade and investment partnerships at the government to government level, and also business to business level.
“I strongly believe that opportunities like this and commitment of business leaders are essential to enhance trade relationship in the country. Nigeria is ever ready and open for business with all potential investors,” he added.
For his part, the Director, Department for Asia, Africa and Latin America, Ministry of Industry and Trade, Russia, Sergey Nosov, said areas of mutual cooperation must be created between both countries to enhance economic growth noting that Nigeria offers great opportunities for Russian exports, considering its tremendous economic growth, huge youthful population and mineral resources.
“Russia would be a strategic partner to Nigeria as the country offered high value technologies, communication, technical solutions, and science, among other industrial equipment which would assist Nigeria’s industrial drive. Exploring more trade and investment opportunities in various sectors for enhanced co-operation and partnership would be a win-win situation for both countries.” Nosov stated.
Also, speaking at the forum, the Director-General, Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Victoria Akai, said Nigeria is an economic power with the capacity to promote and enhance direct investment in Africa adding that, with Nigeria ratifying the African Continent Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement, it had strategically positioned itself toward increasing intra-African trade and collective wealth for the country and its partners.