Lagos — Closer ties between India and other African countries, especially Nigeria in the areas of energy, textiles, and maritime security is needed, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr Olusegun Aganga, has said.
Speaking during a meeting with business delegates from Indian, in Lagos, Aganga said India has become Nigeria's number one trade partner.
He called for effective collaboration between the two countries in the areas of energy, textile, pharmaceuticals and maritime security.
He said as part of efforts to strengthen the already existing economic ties between the two countries, they are set to partner on trade facilitation and Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) development.
Aganga said his ministry would work together with the Indian government to boost industrial skills development and enhance trade facilitation between the two countries.
Aganga cited two lessons of which Nigeria could benefit from Indian experience, namely, her success in productivity growth through smallholder agriculture and, micro, small and medium enterprises development, which requires both market-based incentives and public support, as this has formed the cornerstone of the Indian economy.
Secondly, the role played by leadership and a capable public administration at all levels of the government to support the economy.
"It is within this context that the two inter-related issues of private investment and aid flows from India, may well be of benefit to West Africa's poor. There are also domestic policy lessons with potentially even larger long-term benefits, we can learn from the Indian experience," he said.
The First Secretary in High Commission of India, Mrs. Rani Mallick said India government is ready to work with Nigeria to improve the ease of doing business and boost skills acquisition among Nigerians.
She said: "The basis of the meeting with the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, is to find out how much India is doing in terms of partnering with Nigeria on trade issues and how to improve on it".
Speaking further, Mallick said trade volume between India and Nigeria reached 16.67 billion dollars (N2.7 trillion) in 2013, adding that that the trade relation between the two countries was favourable to Nigeria.
"India has long been Nigeria's privileged business partner in various sectors and our engagement is expanding by the day.
"India is today Nigeria's largest trading partner.
"During the past few years, bilateral trade has doubled and Indian exports to Nigeria have tripled.
"Today, Nigeria is India's largest trading partner in Africa with 16.67 billion dollars in direct bilateral trade in 2013," she said.
Malick said there were over 100 Indian companies with cumulative investments as well as creating jobs in Nigeria.
She, however, said that both countries had yet to adequately harness the bilateral trade potential.