RUSSIA’S President Vladimir Putin has announced that he plans to double the value of Russian food exports to Africa from the current $25bn to $50bn as part of an aggressive trade expansion programme.
Speaking earlier today at the Russia-Africa Summit taking place in the southern city of Kochi, President Putin where he is hosting about 40 African leaders. Co-chaired by President Abdel el-Sisi of Egypt, the current chairman of the African Union, the summit will focus on the exploration and expansion of opportunities in security, trade and investment, science and technology and gas production.
President Muhammadu Buhari is present at the event and met with President Putin at the opening of the summit. Nigerian imports from Russia totalled $1.02bn during the course of 2018, according to the United Nations Comtrade database on international trade, with cereals like wheat being the largest item at a value of about $516m.
Nigeria is also a big importer of Russian fish, crustaceans, molluscs, aquatics invertebrates, inorganic chemicals, precious metal compounds and isotopes. In addition, Nigeria is also a major import of Russian fertilisers, paper and paperboard, articles of pulp and board, as well as pharmaceutical products.
President Putin said: “We currently export to Africa $25bn worth of food, which is more than we export in arms, at $15bn. Over the next four to five years I think we should be able to double this trade, at least, as in Africa, there are very many potential partners with good prospects.”
During the summit, an African Business Forum, conceived to bring together African and Russian business leaders, will be held to enhance Russian investments in Africa and also promote African business interest in the host country. President Buhari will also meet with President Putin, to further strengthen relations between Russia and Nigeria on issues bordering on security, trade and investment.