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India-Nigeria relations: Onyeama calls for stronger ties

Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, has called for stronger ties between Nigeria and India.

[FILES] Minister of Foreign Affairs Geoffrey Onyeama. Photo: TWITTER/GEOFFREYONYEAMA

Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, has called for stronger ties between Nigeria and India.

This was even as he described the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) as a “game-changer” that is going to be the largest free trade area in the world.

Onyeama made the call during the 7th Raisina Dialogue in New Delhi, India, where he took part in two panel discussions with the themes, ‘Out of Africa: Leading on Trade and Economic Integration, and ‘Building the Gates of Globalisation: Investment, Infrastructure and Taboos’.

During the discussions, Onyeama spoke about the various partnerships for infrastructural development such as the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and other initiatives with India, the European Union, and other African countries, all of which he said, contribute enormously to development.

On the sidelines of the 7th Raisina Dialogue, which had more than 200 speakers from 90 countries in attendance, Onyeama met separately with his host, the External Affairs Minister of India, Dr Subrahmanyam Jaishankar and colleagues from Slovenia and the Philippines to discuss bilateral relations between Nigeria and the different countries.

While in India, Onyeama visited one of India’s largest steel and power plants, addressed and inaugurated the Nigeria-India Business Council with impressive attendance by Indian captains of industry and interacted with 30 invited African Ambassadors and members of the Nigerian Community including students.

Onyeama further said AfCFTA will make doing business much easier for countries with seamless access to 54 markets, which is a huge advantage.

He said: “Why I say AfCTA is going to be a game-changer is because it will make it easier for our political leaders and Africans to reach out to other African countries. So, what will come as a result or consequences will be infrastructure – the trans-Saharan highway and continental highway across Africa, promoting connectivity and doing business. That will be the natural result of pulling down all the barriers that are preventing this connectivity within the continent.”