Strong indications emerged yesterday that the government of India plans to invest a whooping sum of $1.5 trillion on infrastructural development in Nigeria and other parts of Africa in the next 10 years.
India's Minister of Commerce and Industry, Mr. Anand Sharma, who made the revelation at an exhibition and India-West Africa Business Forum in Lagos, pointed out that bilateral trade between Nigeria and India has for several years been in excess of $10 billion in favour of Nigeria.
He remarked that five out of the 12 fastest growing economies in the world are domiciled in Africa; a continent which he said is richly endowed with natural resources.
Commending the conveners of the forum, the President of ECOWAS Commission, Dr. Mohammed Ibn Chambers, noted that the event could not have come at a better time, when most nations are emerging from economic failures arising from the global economic recession.
According to him, the 15 countries in the West African sub-region with a combined population of well over 280million people, Africa remains a major economy that must be taken seriously, noting that the continent is blessed with skilled manpower, favourable climate that can be harnessed as an alternative to power and good forest reserves suitable for the pharmaceutical industry.
Also speaking, Nigeria's Minster of Commerce and Industry, Chief Achike Udenwa, noted that India has a lot of success stories that West Africa can learn from, adding that the opportunity the forum avails would go a long way to assist the region in its collective efforts to enhance production capacity and diversity the economic base through the injection of new ideas and technologies, as well as best global practices.
In his opening remark, Vice President Goodluck Jonathan, challenged the forum to come up with proposals that would be of mutual benefit between Nigeria and the government of India.
Jonathan, who was represented by Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State, said India holds the ace in the area of education and medical science and recalled the role Indians played in the education of many Nigerians.
Related stories:China invests $6 billion in Nigeria