Nigerian Ambassador to Russia, Prof. Abdullahi Yibaikwal, has said enhanced trade and economic cooperation between Nigeria and Russia holds tremendous opportunity for international market penetration and economic growth.
Yibaikwal said this during the Russia-Nigeria Business conference held in Moscow, which was organised by Nigerians in Diaspora Organisation (NIDO), Russia and Moscow Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
According to him, Nigeria was an emerging economy and the prospects for trade and economic cooperation between both countries through inflow and outflow of trade and investment were very bright.
The ambassador who 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, said president Muhammadu Buhari’s administration intends to establish strong economic ties with all countries to harness Nigeria’s human and natural resources.
Yibaikwal listed the priority areas of investment in Nigeria as agriculture, manufacturing, solid minerals, services, construction, real estate, 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.”
On the trade volume between both countries, he said it was very low, less than $1 billion, exploring trade activities between both countries would assist to shore up the figure.
Also, director, Department for Asia, Africa and Latin America, Ministry of Industry and Trade, Russia, Mr Sergey Nosov, said areas of mutual cooperation must be created between both countries to enhance economic growth.
Nosov said Nigeria offers great opportunities for Russian exports, considering its tremendous economic growth, huge youthful population and mineral resources.
Chairman of NIDO Europe, Dr Bashir Obasekola, said Nigeria and Russia were countries with huge potential as both countries would benefit immensely from enhanced business.
Director-general, Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mrs Victoria Akai, said Nigeria was an economic power to promote and enhance direct investment in Africa, and added that with Nigeria signing the African Continent Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement, it had strategically positioned itself toward increasing intra-African trade and creating collective wealth for the country and its partners.