Nigeria and India have come together to form the Nigeria-India Business Council (NIBC), a platform for the growth of trade and investment between the two countries in emerging sectors including fintech, artificial intelligence, renewable energy, and technology.
Speaking at the launch in Abuja, Vice-President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, stated that the NIBC would result in a mutually beneficial economic interchange between Nigeria and India.
Speaking on the theme “Expanding Trade and Investment Opportunities between Nigeria and India” the Vice President, who was represented by the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Olamilekan Adegbite, said “both countries have dynamic business environments which provide opportunities for trade and investment in addition to our common aspiration for promoting growth and improving the welfare and material conditions of our people.
“Nigeria and India have a shared interest in successfully tackling the challenges facing the global economy such as climate change, global public health emergencies like COVID-19, and the fallout of the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine. There are many areas in which both countries can build an already active bilateral relationship. These include education, creative industry, the digital economy, pharmaceuticals, agriculture, manufacturing, oil and gas and I am certain that such ties will continue to blossom.
“Indeed I expect the NIBC will be an active vehicle to further strengthen and consolidate our relations and also serve as a platform to coordinate and facilitate investment and business interactions,” he said.
He pointed out that both nations are working together on defense, in order to combat the plague of insecurity in Nigeria.
However, he urged more cooperation in the fields of entrepreneurship and vocational training, pointing out that although Nigeria’s unemployment rate is relatively high at approximately 35%, India has been able to use entrepreneurship to reduce its own to around 7%.
“Similarly through entrepreneurship, India has been able to boost its export of goods and services to about $546 billion, while that of Nigeria is only at $70 billion.
“There is also the need for emphasis on skill acquisition and capacity building, which puts large number of young people at work place as well as boost the nation’s capacity in innovation and technology and contributing to the nation’s economic growth,” he added.
Shri V. Muraleedharan, the visiting Indian Minister of State for External Affairs, stated that Indian companies have long considered Nigeria to be a prime location for investment. He continued by saying that there are around 135 Indian businesses in Nigeria that are said to have made over $20 billion in investments there.
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“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 fueled 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,” he said.
Regarding commerce, the Minister noted that Nigeria has been India’s most important commercial partner in Africa and a very crucial energy partner. He emphasized that, compared to the previous year, the two nations’ bilateral commerce in 2021–2022 increased significantly, reaching $14.95 billion.
In his remarks, Nigeria’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Zubairu Dada, said that the government would continue to foster an atmosphere that is favorable to investors while also stating that both nations will work hard to improve their bilateral collaboration.
The NIBC is a forum for identifying possible business partners and giving the chance to utilize them, according to Ahmed Sule, the Nigerian High Commissioner to India. He urged the delegates to network with their Nigerian counterparts in order to discover the nation’s potential.
According to Gangadharan Balasubramanian, the High Commissioner of India to Nigeria, there are roughly 135 Indian businesses operating in Nigeria across a variety of industries, creating thousands of employment.
He emphasized the need for more investment in manufacturing, financial technology, AI, sustainable agriculture, clean energy, and information and communications technology.
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