The Nigerian President, Muhamamdu Buhari has arrived in Sochi, Russia for a three-day inaugural Russia-Africa Summit and Economic Forum on peace, security and development.
President Buhari’s plane touched the tarmac at 11.25pm (local time), and he was received by the Mayor of the City of Sochi, Anatoliy Nikolayevich Pakhomov and state officials.
The Economic Forum and Summit, holding from 23rd October, has four plenary sessions that would be attended by more than 30 African Heads of State and Governments who have confirmed participation, including the Chairman of the African Union and President of Arab Republic of Egypt Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.
The summit will be co-chaired by President Vladimir Putin, who will present a keynote address at the opening on Wednesday, and the African Union Chairman.
President Buhari will meet the Russian President at the Nigeria and Russian bilateral meeting on Wednesday. The Nigerian leader would make a statement at the summit on Thursday, October 24th.
Other participants at the summit that will showcase Russian interest and investment potential in Africa include; businessmen, experts, investors, leaders of major sub-regional associations and organisations.
An African Business Forum, which will bring together African and Russian business leaders, will be held during the event to enhance Russian investments in Africa and promote African business interest in the host country.
About 250 Nigerian business interests will be participating in the forum.
“It is important that this meeting is taking place at this time,’’ the Senior Special Assistant to the President, Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu said.
He stated that “All the big economies are picking stronger interest in Africa. We now have US-Africa Summit, India-Africa Summit, China-Africa Summit and Japan-Africa Summit, so Russia has signified its interest for political, cultural and economic partnership.
“Nigeria has had an excellent relationship with Russia over the years. We will not forget how the country assisted us in keeping Nigeria as one during the civil war when some of our traditional allies deserted us.
“They have also stood behind us in the fight against terrorism, Boko Haram and ISWA, and Russia has demonstrated its capacity in gas production, a resource which Nigeria has a huge potential of utilising.”
Mr Shehu further said the summit would look into issues of sustainable energy, mines and steel, infrastructure development in Africa, nuclear energy and trade and investment.
On security, the Senior Special Assistant said the meeting would come up with proposals for a security architecture that would be heavily driven by new technology.