By Ifeanyi Nwoko
Dr Maurice Okoli, a Senior research fellow with the Institute of World Economy and International Relations, has tasked Nigeria and other African nations to look up to Russia for partnership to develop the continent.
Okoli, the President of the Nigerian community in Russia, told NAN on Sunday that Russia had the means to support Africa’s infrastructure and business needs as the continent looked towards a 29 trillion dollar GDP by 2050.
Citing a recently published documentary: ‘Russia – Africa Situation Analysis Report by a Russian Expert Group, he urged African governments to take advantage of Russia’s poise to advance the continent’s development.
The documentary prepared by over 25 Russian Policy Experts with sponsorship from the Russian Foreign Ministry, highlights Russia’s foreign policy focus with Africa’s development at the helm.
“These Russian expert groups have just completed their studies on Russian African policies and strategies and development prospects with serious recommendations intended to increase Russian influence in Africa.
“This 150-page report published in November offers clear views of Russian policies and strategies in Africa.
“Africa is a resource-rich continent. Recent recorded growth in Africa has been due to growth in sales in commodities, services and manufacturing.
“West Africa, East Africa, Central Africa, and Southern Africa, in particular, are expected to reach a combined GDP of 29 trillion dollars by 2050.
“Africa is very attractive to foreign investors and the two major reasons Africa is very attractive to foreign investors is the importance of growth.
“It is the primary driver of investors’ interest in Africa. Also, there is a strong drive for investors to diversify away from low return markets.
“Africa as a continent is important to the world. It is a vital region with some of the fastest-growing economies in the world,” he said.
He pointed out that the continent contributed 17 per cent of the World population but noted sadly that in terms of global GDP, the continent only contributed three per cent, hence the need for partnerships to grow.
He, therefore, pointed to Russia for such partnerships.
He noted that President Vladmir Putin had already prioritised Africa on its foreign policy focus with emphasis on defence and security, development, diplomatic support, humanitarian relief as well as ducational and scientific training.
“Russia is a very important defense partner for Africa, a major supplier of arms in Africa.
“This defence relationship is growing as Russia has military cooperation agreement signed with more than 25 African countries.
“Russian companies are mining bauxite in Guinea, extracting diamond from Angola, producing offshore gas in Mozambique.
“One of the largest oil giants Lukoil is present in Nigeria, Ghana, Congo, and Cameroon.
“Russian state company is also offering to build nuclear power technology for several African countries.
“Russia has a deep belief in Afro-optimism and Afro-intellectualism,” he said.
Dr Okoli recalled the 2019 maiden edition of the Russia-Africa Summit which he said was a turning point for Africa’s development through partnership with Russia.
He said with the second edition of the summit underway in 2022, he hoped that more useful mutual development strides would be reached by Russia and Africa.
According to him, this is necessary so as to double trade from 40 billion dollars in the coming years. (NAN)