PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari says Nigeria is on track to be the third most populous nation in the world by 2050.
He told his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin during bilateral talks in Sochi on the sidelines of the Russia-Africa Summit that Nigeria was the most populous country and the largest economy in Africa.
“We have the people, the resources and the market to be successful. We also have the capacity, capability and capacity to use such resources to bring peace and prosperity to not only our citizens but our region as a whole,” President Buhari said. “Thanks to the support of our friends and allies, like the Russian Federation, we have significantly reduced the terrorist Boko Haram.”
He said his administration allocates sizable amount of the national budget to infrastructure development and education to meet the current needs while keeping an eye on the future.
“As you are aware, Nigeria is on track to be the third most populous nation in the world by 2050,” President Buhari said. “Therefore, our modest gains must be sustained and expended for this larger population. To achieve this, we will need partners.”
He said there were many similarities between Russia under Putin’s leadership and Nigeria’s aspirations for the future.
“We can learn a lot from the experience of Russia’s ongoing reforms, of transitioning from oil-dependent economy to a modern, diversified and inclusive economy,” President Buhari said. “Russia has through these reforms successfully privatised a number of state-owned entities, which have now become global household names. This is especially so in the energy, manufacturing, defence and the metallurgical sectors.”
He commended his host for organising the first Russia-Africa Summit.
President Buhari said the level of economic and trade relationship between the Russian Federation and the African continent could be significantly increased.
“I sincerely hope this summit will be the anchor to kick-start what has been a very cordial and mutually beneficial relationship in past years,” said President Buhari.
President Putin noted that next year would mark the 60th anniversary of the declaration of Nigeria’s independence and the establishment of diplomatic relations between the countries.
“I would like to remind you that we signed the fundamental document for our interstate cooperation, the Declaration on Principles of Friendly Relations and Partnership, in Moscow in 2001,” said President Putin. “We highly value your participation [in the first Russia–Africa Summit] and I hope it will be useful for developing our bilateral relations.”