INDIAN investment in Nigeria now totals about $15bn according to the latest statistics provided by India’s high commissioner to Nigeria who stated that the trading relationship between both nations keeps growing by the day.
Speaking in Abuja at the 78th anniversary of India Republic Day Abhay Thakur, the Indian high commissioner, said that both nations had enjoyed warm, friendly and deep-rooted bilateral relations. He added that Nigeria and India had a long-standing relationship that began before the British colonial times which had translated to the exchange of professionals between the two nations.
Mr Thakur said: “Our relationship with Nigeria dates back to 1958 when India established its Diplomatic House in Lagos in November 1958. At present, India is Nigeria’s largest trading partner and Nigeria is India’s largest trading partner in Africa, while India is also the largest buyer of Nigeria’s crude oil.
“Over 135 companies are owned and/or operated by Indians or Persons-of-Indian origin in Nigeria. Some Nigerians were taught by Indian teachers, treated by Indian medical doctors and grew up wearing Indian clothing and watching Indian movies in the 1970s to 1990s, so the enormous goodwill earned by Indians can invariably be felt in interactions with the government and the civil society.
“Both countries were in the forefront of international anti-colonial and anti-apartheid struggle and closely collaborated in various international fora. The presence of a large Indian expatriate community of about 50,000, the largest in West Africa, adds value to the importance of our long-standing relationship.”
He said India was proud to have a robust relationship that saw three Nigerian presidents benefiting from the Indian Defense High Tech Programme. Mr Thakur added that Indian companies were the second largest employers of labour in Nigeria after the Nigerian government, saying that Indian corporate interests were scattered around education, tourism, medical tourism and business.
“Today is a very special day because it is not only the 78th anniversary of the India Republic Day, we are also marking the 60th year of Nigeria and India relationship, in fact, our relationship is age-old and started before independence. At the beginning of British colonial times, a lot of Indian professionals, such as teachers and doctors, entered Nigeria and we also exchanged students, cultural troops, political delegations and capacity building programmes.
“So, we have a very vibrant relationship and I must say that in all of this, Nigeria and India are each other’s strategy partners and have a close security relationship as well. The relationship grows stronger by the years and as Nigeria and India’s economies grow, our external engagement will also grow and we will have more to learn from each other and more to gain from each other,” Mr Thakur added.
Over 200 members of the Indian community attended the flag hoisting ceremony at the high commission in Abuja to commemorate the day. Mr Thakur pointed out that there are a lot of initiatives planned for 2020 but the most important one will be the Fourth India Africa Investment Summit.
He said: “The last one was in October 2015, which was attended by President Muhammadu Buhari. We look forward to the next summit which will be held later in the year.”