On 6 April 2022, the Russian Association for International Cooperation, in collaboration with the Moscow Chamber of Commerce and Industry organized a high-level roundtable discussion on the Direction of the Development of Trade and Economic Cooperation between Russia and Africa.
The Russian officials who attended the event included the Mr. Vladimir Platonov, the President of the Moscow Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mr. Sergey Kalashnikov, Chairman of the Russian Association for International Cooperation, Mr. Sergey Cheremin, Minister of the Government of Moscow and Mr. Oleg Ozerov, Ambassador-at-Large and Head of the Secretariat of the Russia-Africa Partnership Forum.
Furthermore, the Ambassadors of Algeria, Benin, Egypt, Kenya, Mauritania and Zambia also participated at the roundtable discussion. H.E. Abdullahi Y. Shehu, the Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to the Russian Federation with concurrent accreditation to the Republic of Belarus was one of the panel discussants.
In his presentation, Amb. Shehu identified three (3) main areas of wealth creation in the Nigerian economy namely; Agriculture, Solid Minerals and Manufactured products and services. He emphasized that Nigeria is the preferred destination for Russian investors seeking to enter the African market. He highlighted Nigeria’s competitive advantage as follow:
- With over 200 million population, Nigeria’s domestic market has the greatest attraction in Africa;
- Nigeria being the largest economy in Africa makes it the right entry point for any potential investors;
- Nigeria is endowed with enormous natural resources that can be of mutual benefit to Russian entrepreneurs;
- Nigeria’s active and leading role in ECOWAS and in the whole of Africa makes it the preferred destination to do business; and
- The President Muhammadu Buhari’s main thrust on economic diplomacy, which has created about thirty-five instruments in support of doing business in Nigeria.
The roundtable discussion was very timely as it provided a platform to explore innovative ways to carry-out economic activities between Russia and Africa and to harness the untapped opportunities for Russian companies willing to invest in Africa.