President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr President, colleagues, friends,
Next year we will mark the 60th anniversary of the declaration of Nigeria’s independence and the establishment of diplomatic relations between our countries. I would like to remind you that we signed the fundamental document for our interstate cooperation, the Declaration on Principles of Friendly Relations and Partnership, in Moscow in 2001.
I would like to thank you, Mr President, for taking part in the first Russia–Africa Summit. We highly value your participation and I hope it will be useful for developing our bilateral relations.
At the beginning of our conversation I would like to note that Russia’s and Nigeria’s approaches to many current issues on the international agenda are very close and we rely on continuing this cooperation in future.
We also give priority to the joint search for opportunities to broaden trade, economic and investment cooperation. Even though it is a small volume in absolute terms and in our opinion it falls short of our potential, still it is growing considerably, last year the growth was 93 percent.
The key role here belongs to the Intergovernmental Commission for Economic Cooperation and the Russia – Nigeria and Nigeria – Russia Business councils set up in 2006–2007.
A successful bilateral business forum took place in May this year. Our delegation consisted of representatives of over 10 companies. Our countries’ Chambers of Commerce and Industry also maintain contacts.
Mr President, I very much hope that your current visit to Russia will give a new impetus to the development of our relations in all areas that are of interest to our countries.
President of Nigeria Muhammadu Buhari: Your Excellency, governors, ministers, distinguished ladies and gentlemen,
Your Excellency, I would like to commend you for organising this first Russia-Africa Summit. The level of economic and trade relationship between the Russian Federation and our continent could be significantly increased. I sincerely hope this summit will be the anchor to kickstart what has been a very cordial and mutually beneficial relationship in past years.
Nigeria is the most populous country and the largest economy in Africa. We have the people, the resources and the market to be successful. We also have the capacity, capability and capacity to use such resources to bring peace and prosperity to not only our citizens but our region as a whole. Thanks to the support of our friends and allies, like the Russian Federation, we have significantly reduced the terrorist Boko Haram.
We allocate sizable amount of our budget to infrastructure development and education to meet our current needs while keeping an eye on the future.
As you are aware, Nigeria is on track to be the third most populous nation in the world by 2050. Therefore, our modest gains must be sustained and expended for this larger population. To achieve this, we will need partners.
Mr President, there are many similarities between Russia under your leadership and Nigeria’s aspirations for the future. We can learn a lot from the experience of Russia’s ongoing reforms, of transitioning from oil-dependent economy to a modern, diversified and inclusive economy. Russia has through these reforms successfully privatised a number of state-owned entities, which have now become global household names. This is especially so in the energy, manufacturing, defence and the metallurgical sectors.