By Ismaila Chafe
The Presidency says about 250 Nigerian business interests will participate in the African Business Forum, which will bring together African and Russian business leaders in Sochi, Russia, between Oct. 23 and Oct. 25.
Malam Garba Shehu, the President’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, disclosed this in a statement in Abuja on Tuesday.
According to the presidential aide, the forum will be held during the Russia–Africa Summit to enhance Russian investments in Africa, and promote African business interest in the host country.
“It is important that this meeting is taking place at this time. All the big economies are picking stronger interest in Africa.
“We now have US-Africa Summit, India-Africa Summit, China-Africa Summit and Japan-Africa Summit, so Russia has signified its interest for political, cultural and economic partnership.
“Nigeria has had an excellent relationship with Russia over the years. We will not forget how the country assisted us in keeping Nigeria as one during the civil war when some of our traditional allies deserted us,’’ he said.
He noted that Russia had also stood behind Nigeria in the fight against terrorism, Boko Haram and ISWA, and had also demonstrated its capacity in gas production, “a resource which Nigeria has a huge potential of utilising.’’
Shehu, who also confirmed the arrival of President Muhamamdu Buhari for the event on Monday, said the three-day inaugural Russia-Africa Summit and Economic Forum would focus on peace, security and development.
He said the summit would look into issues of sustainable energy, mines and steel, infrastructure development in Africa, nuclear energy and trade and investment.
On security, the Senior Special Assistant said the meeting would come up with proposals for a security architecture driven by new technology.
The Economic Forum and Summit would hold between Oct. 23 and Oct. 24,, with four plenary sessions to be attended by more than 30 African Heads of State and governments.
This included the Chairman of the African Union and President of Arab Republic of Egypt Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.
The summit would be co-chaired by President Vladimir Putin, with a keynote address at the opening on Wednesday, and el-Sisi.
Buhari and Putin will meet at the Nigeria and Russian bilateral meeting on Oct. 23 while the Nigerian leader will make a statement at the summit on Oct. 24.
Other participants at the summit that will showcase Russian interest and investment potential in Africa include businessmen, experts, investors, leaders of major sub-regional associations and organisations. (NAN)