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Nigeria an important partner in India's energy security: Vice President Mohammad Hamid Ansari

Vice President Mohammad Hamid Ansari

Abuja (Nigeria), Sep 28 (UITV/IANS)- Vice President Mohammad Hamid Ansari on Wednesday said Nigeria was an important partner for India's energy security with about 12 per cent of the crude requirement coming from the west African nation.

"Given India's current and expanding energy requirements, there is significant potential for diversifying our engagement in oil and gas sector by enhancing our cooperation in both upstream and downstream domains with Nigeria," Ansari told the Nigeria-India Business Forum here.

Exploring further economic engagement, the two countries need to synergise efforts in the areas of business, Ansari said.

"The vast consumer market, youthful and skilled human resource and expertise in the field of information technology of India coupled with Nigeria's natural resources, youthful population and strategic location would provide a platform for enhanced economic engagement," he said.

As both India and Nigeria make an attempt to broadbase their economy, they should harness the complementarities in attracting investment which is a key factor for a positive economic growth, he added.

India is the largest trading partner of Nigeria which, in turn, is the largest trading partner of India in Africa. The bilateral trade between the two has been growing steadily during the last decade and touched $16 billion in 2014-15.

Over 100 Indian companies run their Africa operations from Nigeria in diverse sectors such as communications, power, pharmaceuticals, healthcare, automotive sector and oil, among others.

It is estimated that the Indian investments have exceeded $10 billion so far, and another $5 billion are committed.

The Vice President also wooed Nigerian businesses to partner with India in infrastructure development apart from other sectors.

"Infrastructure stimulation programmes launched by the Government of India, like the mission to develop 100 Smart Cities, upgrade infrastructure development in urban and rural areas and enhance nationwide connectivity through the 'Digital India' programme, have created massive opportunities for foreign partners in the Indian economy," he said.

In June this year, Indian industry body Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham) established its Abuja Chapter, in addition to the existing Nigeria-India Chamber of Commerce and Industries (NICCI) based in Nigeria's largest city Lagos.