- The visiting Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has said his trip to Nigeria has been premised on expanding and diversifying trade with the country.
Mr Singh, whose visit is the first by an Indian Prime Minister in Nigeria for more than four decades, told a special session of the country’s parliament in Abuja that the two countries aim to forge a partnership for economic growth.
"Ours is a partnership for economic growth," he assured. "Nigeria is already India's largest trading partner in Africa, but we need to vastly expand and diversify our trade.”
It is believed that the Indian Premier’s visit is part of his country’s strategies to compete with China to chase energy and trade in Africa’s leading oil producer. Over the years, Chinese oil companies have threatened the dominance of western multi-nationals in the Nigeria’s oil and gas industries.
The lobbying comes when Nigeria is reported to be at the brink of showing interest in tapping India’s expertise in manufacturing and information technology.
Prime Minister Singh expressed resolve to strength ties between the two countries.
Close to 10% of India’s petroleum consumption is provided by Nigeria.
The Indian Premier had earlier held talks with the Nigerian President, Umaru Yar'Adua.
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