Indian Minister of State for External Affairs, Shri Vellamvelly Muraleedharan, has said a total sum of $20 billion Indian investments are domiciled in Nigeria.
Muraleedharan who spoke during the inaugural session of the Nigeria-India Business Council (NIBC) in Abuja, also said that the country has always been a favourite investment destination for Indian businesses. The minister further said the multi -sectoral, high level business delegation from India was ready to collaborate in different sectors in the country.
“I am aware that there are around 135 Indian companies in Nigeria estimated to have invested over $20 billion. It is also a matter of pride that companies owned by Indians or persons of Indian origin are reputed to be the second largest providers of employment in Nigeria. The large and growing population of Nigeria, its talented youth, the abundance of natural resources, a democratic and business-friendly government and very strong cultural bonds between our peoples have all fuelled the rising economic engagement between both countries. But there is still great potential to enhance our economic cooperation and, with the pandemic behind us, both countries must look to vigorously make up for opportunities lost during the last two years,” Muraleedharan said.
Speaking on trade between India and Nigeria, the Indian Foreign Minister said Nigeria has been India’s largest trading partner in Africa and a very valuable energy partner.
He disclosed that bilateral trade between both countries in the year 2021 to 2022 had risen substantially over the previous year to $14.95 billion.
According to Muraleedharan, “Collaboration in trade and economic fields between two countries is made a lot easier when the political relationship is strong and the leadership of the countries are committed in further improving the ties. I am glad that this is the case between India and Nigeria. India-Nigeria relations started even before Nigerian Independence in 1960, with the establishment of our Mission in Lagos in 1958. Our shared colonial past, diverse populations and common economic agenda based on democracy and sustainable development have united us even on the global stage. We have common positions on most issues affecting the developing world, climate change and terrorism, especially cross border terrorism. We are supportive of Nigeria’s aspirations in the international arena and we are optimistic that our countries can enhance our coordination at multilateral fora, especially with India scheduled to host the prestigious G 20 Summit in 2023.”
He also said that during the COVID-19 pandemic, cooperation between India and Nigeria only intensified with regular telephonic interactions between leaders of both countries, supply by India of over seven tonnes of essential medicines during the peak of the pandemic and gifting of 100,000 ‘made in India’ vaccines to Nigeria under India’s ‘vaccine maitri’ initiative.
“We are now exploring the possibility of joint manufacturing facilities for COVID-19 and other vaccines with select African countries, and we understand that Nigeria is also interested in such partnerships with India.
“India has always been a very reliable partner for its friends in Africa and is committed to the socio economic development of Africa in accordance with its own development priorities. Your priorities are our guiding principles for economic cooperation and our assistance in this area has always been keeping in the best interest of your country.
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