President Vladimir Putin of Russia has expressed his commitment to strengthening relations with Nigeria and other African countries.
According to The PUNCH, he assured African leaders that Russia is prepared to collaborate with African states in various sectors, including energy, information communication, education, and health.
Vice President Kashim Shettima announced Nigeria’s intention to collaborate with Russia in revitalising the Aluminium Smelter Company of Nigeria. This will involve active engagement with industry stakeholders.
Both individuals delivered speeches at the Russia-Africa Economic and Humanitarian Forum, which took place during the Russia-Africa Summit in St. Petersburg, Russia.
Several African heads of state are in attendance, including Shettima, who is representing President Bola Tinubu, and Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Shettima is part of a Nigerian delegation at the meeting.
Other participants included Nigeria’s Ambassador to Russia, Shehu Abdullahi; Nigeria’s Ambassador to Germany, Yusuf Tugar; Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Gabriel Aduda; Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, Mary Ogbe; and Mr Gbenga Komolafe, Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission.
“The sooner we get this plant back up and running, the better it will be for everyone.” “We must walk the talk; the Nigerian people deserve better,” Shettima remarked on the sidelines of the summit during a meeting with the management of Russian Aluminium Company, UC RUSAL, and other project stakeholders.
Meanwhile, Putin noted in his opening remarks that the potential for trade and economic cooperation between Russia and African countries was much higher than the trade turnover of $18bn seen in 2022.
He restated his country’s commitment to food security in Africa and beyond, stressing that “Russia will continue to work towards shaping a more equitable global food distribution system.”
The Russian president also stated that his country would enhance its support for Africa, which accounts for 65 percent of the world’s arable land and roughly 10% of domestic renewable freshwater sources, citing “its enormous potential for further agricultural development.”
“I would like to emphasise that Russia is sincerely interested in continuing to promote all-round development and deepen trade, economic and humanitarian cooperation with all African countries. I have no doubt that this forum and the thematic meetings, round tables and talks held within its framework will certainly be useful and will bring us closer to our common goals,” he said in his speech at the event.
The Russian leader also pledged to help Nigeria and other African states to tackle food crisis.
He said, “Our country will continue to support states and regions in need, including with its humanitarian supplies. We are seeking to actively participate in the formation of a more equitable system for the distribution of resources and are doing our utmost to prevent a global food crisis.
“In principle, we are convinced that with the application of appropriate agricultural technologies and the correct organisation of agricultural production, Africa can in the long term not only feed itself and ensure its own food security, but also become an exporter of various types of food. And Russia will only support you, I assure you.”