MANAGING Director/ Chief Executive Officer of Heritage Bank Limited, Mr. Ifie Sekibo, has called for stronger partnership between Nigeria and Russia for technological and infrastructural development.
Making this call at the sidelines of the just concluded 2019 Annual Meetings of the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) in Moscow, Russia, Sekibo noted that Africa and Nigeria in particular has a lot to learn from the Russian Federation. He stressed that Nigeria can leverage on stronger ties with Russia to enhance development in the area of infrastructure, aviation, technology, solar, hydropower energy and mining.
Sekibo said: “If we carefully listen to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, Sergey Lavrov, he said the Russian investment in Africa had increased over the years to almost $20 billion in 2018. This clearly shows Africa and Nigeria especially need to key into these investments and get the best out of it.
What we are seeing in Russia today is a testimony that they are giants in several areas of development and Nigeria has a lot to learn and gain and learn from them. Today Nigeria suffers from huge infrastructural deficit and a lot could be achieved from other countries of the world including Russia.
“Russia is advanced in technology and in mining and I feel such cooperation with them will help Nigeria harness its mineral resources. We have huge mineral resources deposit in a lot of states in Nigeria and we can tap from the wealth of experience of Russia either in training of geologists or mining practises”.
Also speaking on the importance of Nigeria being part of African Free Trade Area Agreement, AFCFTA, Sekibo said it is important for Nigeria to quickly join forces with other African countries on the agreement being the biggest economy in Africa.
His words, “Nigeria today is seen as the Big Brother when it comes to the economy and African trade and we cannot shy away from such agreement. Such agreements give access to big markets and improved competitions among the member countries.
I feel strongly that Nigeria has a lot to gain if AFCFTA is signed. I also believe if it is properly leveraged on, it will do us better as a nation.”