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Being rather optimistic of the enormous untapped opportunities that exist within the Nigerian economy despite her current precarious state, the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) in its bid to stimulate growth and development has initiated partnership with the Russian Trade Mission.
The aim is to push trade between the two countries beyond $1 billion.
Owing to the fact that both countries have some things in common; being oil producing countries and endowed with a colossal of natural resources which when developed can initiate rapid growth and development within the economy, LCCI believes Nigeria has a lot to learn from a developed country like Russia.
The partnership was initiated at the Nigerian Russian Business Forum held on the 23rd of May 2019 at the Commerce House, Lagos, with members of the Russian industrial delegation led by Nigeria ambassador to Russia, Steve Davies Ugbah.
Speaking on the slowdown in the global economy, ,” Babatunde Paul Ruwase, president of LCCI said the need to diversify Nigerian and Russian economies cannot be more urgent than now.
“I believe that increased trade will enhance the realisation of our objective of economic diversification,” he said.
The partnership between Nigeria and Russia is not new as it dates back to diplomatic relations established between the countries in 1991, after the USSR provided the Nigerian government with political and military assistance during the Nigerian Civil war which lasted for four years between 1967 and 1970.
According to Babatunde Ruwase, the current level of trade between Nigeria and Russia is still very low and less than $1 billion hence, “with closer cooperation between the private sectors of both countries, we can improve on the level of trade,” he said.
However, the Nigeria ambassador to Russia, Steve Davies Ugbah, explained that the level of trade between Nigeria and Russia is currently lesser than $300 million, adding that, “the Russian economy has a lot it can offer to Nigeria being one of the most developed countries in areas of power, technology, health care etc. to mention but a few.”
Nigeria, which currently offers the largest market on the African continent, with GDP of over $450 billion and population of over 200 million, is richly endowed in natural resources, said Ruwase.
“Our macroeconomic fundamentals are still strong despite the current global issues with commodity prices,” he added.
Giving a platform for Nigeria businesses to partner with Russia, the forum also gave opportunities for delegates from Russian companies with significant market share in various industries to make presentations regarding their operations in areas of power, agriculture (fertilizer), food, and technology.
“We employ the Russian delegates to help Nigeria through partnership to alleviate challenges in the area of education, health care, solid minerals, and infrastructure building, among others, as Nigeria offers good opportunities in these space,” Knut Ulvmoen, deputy president LCCI, said.
“We are ready to partner with Nigeria as we have always perceived the country as the future of frontier markets with enormous opportunities and growth potentials,” Skripnik Bogdan, head of Russian Business Delegation, assured.