Nigeria and India have strengthened collaboration in the area of Information and Communications Technology (ICT), green economy, Artificial Intelligence and entrepreneurship training as both countries boost their bilateral relations.
Nigeria’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama made this known when he received India’s Minister of State of External Affairs, Shri V. Muraleedharan at the Ministry on Monday.
Briefing journalists after a closed-door meeting, Onyeama said that Muraleedharan, who was in Nigeria to attend the inauguration of the Nigeria-India Business Council (NIBC) shows how much importance Nigeria is to India.
Onyeama said that Nigeria also aspires learning from India’s wealth of knowledge in the areas of Information Communication and technology.
“We have in areas of business a very solid and growing relations. India is one of the largest investors in Nigeria and of course India is one of the largest markets for Nigerian crude.
“India is a destination country for Nigerian students, for medical tourists and our cooperation is very strong in many other fields, defence industry and so on,” he said.
He noted the population of Indians in Nigeria is probably the highest in any West African country, which is a proof of a strong relationship between the two countries.
“We need to strengthen people- to -people relationship, business relationship and we aspire to achieve some very worthy achievement of India in the field of ICT.
“In the area of Information Technology, India is the leader. So, we really feel that we can benefit enormously now in the relationship that we are building going forward,” Onyeama said.
Fielding questions from journalists, Onyeama said that Nigeria and India were also collaborating in the areas of defense and security, business and cultural cooperation, power, energy among others.
“India is the main intitator in the framework of the conference of the parties on climate change of the solar alliance and on renewable energy.
“And obviously this is an area where both countries are trying to key into and benefit from.
“On Defence cooperation, there is a joint initiative with some of our Defence institutions on the development of detection of Iimprovised explosive Ddevices which we are working on,” he added.
The visiting Indian Minister Muraleedharan said his country and Nigeria have excellent relations at the bilateral level which he is optimistic will continue to thrive.
“Today we have the opportunity to discuss on various bilateral aspects, including the trade, consular issues, the education and all these issues.
Also responding to questions from journalists, Muraleedharan said that the newly established NIBC will be a milestone in the improvement of the bilateral trade, investment in various sector.
He noted that India is ready to provide soft credit to Nigeria for to build solar power plants.
“The multi sectoral delegation that has come from India to attend this NIBC will have discussions with their counterparts and various chambers in Nigeria.
“Through which they will devise means and methods on how they will collaborate and how Indian businesses and business houses can partner with Nigeria in various sectors.
“On Power, Nigeria is part of the International Solar which is the global alliance to ensure that sustainable power is there across the world.
“We are also on discussion on the setting up of solar power plant and India is interested to provide the soft credit to Nigeria.
“ India is ready to partner especially where it will be beneficial to the youths of Nigeria,
“So in the area of ICT the cooperation in skills development will go a long way in doing that,” Muraleedharan said.