ABUJA: India today underscored the need to synergise its growth strategies with Nigeria in the backdrop of the current global financial situation, saying economic cooperation occupies a prominent position in the bilateral matrix.
“India and Nigeria are well placed to convert this challenge into an opportunity. We count on you, the business leaders from Nigeria and India, to be the architects of this important change,” Vice President Hamid Ansari said at the Nigeria-India Business Forum in Abuja.
Infrastructure development and energy security are key areas for cooperation for emerging economies like India and Nigeria, he told the members of Nigerian and Indian industry.
“These sectors allow for both our countries to collaborate and benefit from each other’s expertise. Infrastructure stimulation programmes launched by the government of India, like the mission to develop 100 smart cities, upgrade infrastructure development in urban and rural areas and enhance nationwide connectivity through the ‘Digital India’ programme, have created massive opportunities for foreign partners in the Indian economy,” said Mr Ansari, who is on a five-day visit to Nigeria and Mali.
His counterpart Yemi Osinbajo and several top business leaders from both the countries were present at the event.
He thanked the Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Nigerian National Chamber of Commerce together with the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and ASSOCHAM India-Nigeria Business Council for partnering in holding this business meet.
“We are extremely happy to see the initiatives which Nigeria has launched under the sagacious leadership of His Excellency President Muhammadu Buhari. As Nigeria embarks with renewed vigour and determination in realising greater prosperity for its people, India stands ready to join as a partner,” he said.
Noting that the overall engagement between India and Nigeria remains vibrant and full of vitality, Mr Ansari said economic and commercial cooperation occupies prominent position in “our bilateral matrix.”
“In my meetings with the Nigerian leadership, I found a strong desire to expand our commercial engagement.”
He said it is a matter of satisfaction that for past few years, India has been the largest trading partner of Nigeria, and Nigeria is the largest trading partner of India in Africa.
“Our bilateral trade has been growing steadily for the last one decade and touched USD 16 billion in 2014-15. It is only because of the global decline in oil prices that our trade has slowed down in the past one year.”