Nigerian official says Russia is a good ally as Moscow says it will help in resuscitating the moribund steel sector $23 billion African debt written off
Russia has been a good ally for Nigeria for decades, according to Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Mines and Steel Development Mary Ogbe, who said that Moscow would help the African nation restore its aluminum and steel mining sector.
“We have the steel plant located in Ajaokuta, in north central Nigeria, which was built by the Soviet Union about 44 years ago,” the top official told RT during the Russia-Africa forum in St. Petersburg.
“Now we are here to collaborate with Russia to resuscitate that plant again, to make it work for [the] industrialization of Nigeria.”
The forum is providing the groundwork for more intense cooperation between Russia and Nigeria, according to Ogbe, who insisted the nations have developed a strong government-to-government relationship.
The partners are also planning to cooperate in sectors like health, agriculture, and infrastructure, the secretary added, saying the event brought Nigeria “very good responses,” including those focused on energy enhancement.“There can’t be industrialization without power, and we are having this conversation. As we are here, we want to focus on Russia, and we are getting responses that we need,” she said.
Earlier, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Petroleum Resources and OPEC Governor for Nigeria Gabriel Aduda revealed that the nation was interested not only in attracting Russian companies to energy projects, but also in obtaining appropriate technologies for extracting oil and gas.
President Vladimir Putin confirmed on Friday that the Russian government has written off over $20 billion of debt historically owed by African nations while speaking at a plenary session of the Russia-Africa forum in St. Petersburg.
He said Moscow would also allocate more funds to help with the development of the continent.“The total amount of debt of the African countries written off by Russia amounts to $23 billion dollars with another $90 million to be allocated for the same purposes,” Putin stated, with reference to historical trade and finance links between Moscow and Africa.
In March, the Russian leader highlighted the growth of mutual trade between Russia and African countries, saying it could open up additional opportunities for the process of establishing the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
Launched in 2021, the AfCFTA is expected to become a continental market with a total GDP of more than $3 trillion, making Africa one of the leaders of the multipolar world. According to Putin, Russia is in favor of establishing ties with AfCFTA both through the Eurasian Economic Union and on a bilateral level.
Akowe reporting from Abuja with materials from NAN/RT