Russia Targets Increasing Trade With Nigeria

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By Chris Devonshire-Ellis 

The third Nigeria-Russia Business Forum in Lagos has just completed, with trade volumes between the two countries having doubled in three years to US$600million, the Nigerian Ambassador to Russia, Prof Abdullahi Shehu has said.

Nigeria has been importing increasing amounts of Russian equipment mainly in the oil and gas industry but now fanning out into the steel and agricultural sectors. There are also plans to encourage Nigerian manufacturers to take on Russian technologies and export finished products currently made in Russia back to the EAEU markets provided QC and product competitiveness targets can be met.

This means Nigeria, which is a member of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is able to source raw materials and components from across Africa, marry them with Russian parts in Special Economic Zones and then either re-sell them back onto the African market or export them back to Russia. Nigeria gains from acquiring Russian technologies which help it improve its industrial base, while Russia gains access to pan-African competitive sourcing and competitive production costs.

Shehu said that a key area beneficial to joint Russian-Nigerian trade is steel development; an important component of industrialisation of any country that would also provide a significant contribution to Nigeria’s GDP and employment creation.

Both Russia and China have been targetting Africa as an investment hotspot. Last week, the West African nation Guinea-Bissau joined China’s Belt and Road Initiative and both countries have been involved in establishing SEZ’s across the continent.

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