Vice President of the Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry Vladimir Padalko expressed hope that Russian business will move on to substantive work with Nigeria in various specific areas. He stated this on January 26, opening a meeting of the Russia-Nigeria Business Council, held at the Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Ilyinka, 6.
Vladimir Padalko emphasized that there is significant potential for the further development of trade and economic cooperation, which can be achieved through the implementation of promising joint projects in the fields of energy, processing and transportation of hydrocarbons, infrastructure, agriculture, as well as by increasing direct contacts between the business circles of our countries.
In his opening remarks, General Director of Uralchem JSC, Chairman of the Russia-Nigeria Business Council, Dmitry Konyaev, who chaired the meeting, noted the size and importance of the Nigerian market for the supply of mineral fertilizers from Russia. According to him, Uralchem, as one of the world's leading fertilizer producers, monitors the situation in the agricultural and food markets. Dmitry Konyaev emphasized that the growth of Nigeria's population (the country's population is expected to reach 350 million people by 2050) necessitates the development of new agricultural land to ensure the country's food security.
Ambassador at Large of the Russian Foreign Ministry Oleg Ozerov addressed the meeting participants, who noted the importance of resolving all issues of bilateral relations, including the problem of investment protection, as soon as possible. He emphasized that, despite pressure from the West, Africans are choosing to cooperate with Russia. “This was confirmed by the Russia-Africa summit held last year in St. Petersburg, in which the Vice President of Nigeria took part,” the diplomat recalled.
The director of the Institute of African Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, corresponding member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Irina Abramova, made a report at the meeting of the Business Council, presenting the opportunities of Nigeria and noting that in terms of macroeconomic indicators, Nigeria is the largest economy on the African continent. According to her, the issue of financial support for our cooperation is one of the most pressing. Among other problems, the leading Russian Africanist scholar named the imperfection of the tax system, the problem of secondary sanctions, and the lack of transport and logistics communications. Ms. Abramova emphasized the importance for Russian business of building relationships with serious intermediaries, and not with fly-by-night companies.
The charge d'affaires ad interim of Nigeria in Russia, Mr. Grema Garba Satomi Gana mni, made a welcoming speech and announced a change in the procedure for issuing business visas to Russian businessmen towards simplification. Minister-Counselor for Economic Affairs of the Nigerian Embassy in the Russian Federation, Mr. Friday W. Akpan, presented the main areas of cooperation between the two countries, highlighting, first of all, the agricultural sector.
Among the speakers were also the General Director of EXIAR JSC Nikita Gusakov, Deputy Director of the Department of Asia, Africa and Latin America of the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Russian Federation Oleg Gorlov, Trade Representative of Russia in Nigeria Maxim Petrov and others.
About 60 representatives of government authorities, business and expert communities of both countries took part in the meeting. A wide range of issues related to the development of foreign trade cooperation between Russia and Nigeria were discussed, including: effective ways to optimize the risks associated with investment cooperation, as well as new approaches to mutual payment transactions. In addition, the participants discussed government support measures aimed at implementing Russian-Nigerian investment projects and organizing joint ventures.
By Peter Cheremushkin