By Victoria Ojeme
The Indian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Nagabushana Reddy has disclosed that trade relations between Nigeria and India hit $10bn in 2016, just as plans have been concluded to organize an international Expo on Information Communication Technology in Nigeria as part of efforts at deepening bilateral relations with Nigeria.
The two-day event which is billed for September, next month is expected to attract over 200 companies from India as well as companies from 14 countries across the globe. Reddy, who disclosed this yesterday in Abuja, at an event organized to commemorate the 70th Independence Anniversary of India said the gesture apart from strengthening bilateral relations between Nigeria and India was aimed at further supporting the introduction of ICT as a major component of economic development.
“India is hosting next month what is called Indo-Africa ICT Expo, Information and Communication Technology Expo in Lagos from 6 to 7 September. We are expecting over 200 Indian companies to come into Nigeria for the fair. We believe that Nigeria has the significant potential to further strengthen her digitalization and use of ICT for the development of the people.
“We have taken Nigeria as the base to hold this event and also 14 other countries are being invited and we are expecting their participation which will only show that Nigeria and India are working together with a view to not only bilaterally engage themselves but also finally invite other countries to come into Nigeria to see how they can all benefit from advances in the ICT”, he said.
The envoy, who disclosed that trade relations between Nigeria and India hit over 10bn dollars in 2016, added that there is a conscious effort on the part of both nations to increase the figure by further expanding the scope of their business relations.
“We are also looking at how we can contribute to Nigeria’s effort to implement the green evolution, a major initiative launched by the President of Nigeria, which is to make Nigeria self sufficient in agriculture and at the same time also produce for export to other countries so as to lessen the dependence on oil export”, he said.
He stated that India’s relation with Nigeria was very robust with about 35,000 Indian nationals and a vast majority of Indian companies operating in various sectors of the Nigerian economy.
Areas of current collaboration between the two countries he said include, agriculture, defense, healthcare infrastructure as well as socio-cultural amongst others
“We are quite happy with the current state of engagement between India and Nigeria and there is more to be done. India/Nigeria engagement will complete 60 years in 2018 and we are working to see how this engagement can be further enhanced.
“Engagement at higher levels have provided sufficient platforms for enhancing India Nigeria relationships.Let’s not forget at this point in time, India is the largest trading partner of Nigeria. Similarly for India, Nigeria is the largest trading partner in Africa, which means there is considerable bilateral economic engagement which is providing us with sufficient momentum to make the relationship grow further. In 2016, trade volume was close to 10 billion US dollars”, he said.