President Vladimir Putin of Russia has expressed his commitment to strengthen economic ties with Nigeria and other African countries during the Russia-Africa Economic and Humanitarian Forum held at the Russia-Africa Summit in St. Petersburg. The forum saw the participation of several African heads of states, including Vice President Kashim Shettima, who represented Nigerian President Bola Tinubu, and President Emmerson Mnangagwa of Zimbabwe. This gathering marks a significant step towards fostering collaborative efforts to develop key sectors such as energy, Information Communication, education, health, and more.
Vice President Shettima announced Nigeria’s partnership with Russia to revive the Aluminium Smelter Company of Nigeria, signaling their intention to engage with key stakeholders in the industry. Revitalizing this plant is seen as crucial for the Nigerian economy, and Shettima emphasized the urgency of bringing it back to production to benefit the Nigerian people.
President Putin highlighted the substantial potential for trade and economic cooperation between Russia and African countries, which he believes exceeds the modest $18 billion trade turnover recorded in 2022. He stressed his country’s dedication to addressing food security in Africa and beyond, expressing Russia’s commitment to shaping a more equitable global food distribution system. Russia is keen on supporting Africa’s agricultural sector, given that the continent possesses 65 percent of the world’s arable land and about 10 percent of renewable freshwater sources.
In his speech at the event, President Putin reaffirmed Russia’s sincere interest in promoting all-round development and deepening trade, economic, and humanitarian cooperation with all African countries. He expressed confidence that the forum’s discussions and engagements would be fruitful in bringing Russia and Africa closer to their common goals.
The presence of top Nigerian officials, including Nigeria’s Ambassadors to Russia and Germany, as well as Permanent Secretaries from the Ministries of Petroleum Resources and Mines and Steel Development, demonstrates the Nigerian government’s commitment to exploring meaningful partnerships with Russia. Such collaborations have the potential to drive economic growth and development, not only in Nigeria but across the African continent.
The summit in St. Petersburg serves as a platform for leaders from both regions to engage in constructive dialogue, fostering mutual understanding and cooperation. It allows for discussions on various sectors and the identification of areas where joint efforts can yield substantial benefits for all parties involved.
The commitment shown by both President Putin and Vice President Shettima reflects the growing interest and recognition of Africa as a region with tremendous potential for development and collaboration. By working together, Russia and African countries can harness their respective strengths and resources to create a more prosperous and sustainable future for their citizens.
In conclusion, the Russia-Africa Summit in St. Petersburg has paved the way for increased economic cooperation between Russia and African nations. The pledges made by President Putin and Vice President Shettima signify a positive step towards realizing the untapped potential for trade, development, and humanitarian efforts. As the forum progresses, it is expected that more concrete plans and partnerships will be forged, leading to fruitful outcomes that benefit both Russia and Africa in various crucial sectors.