Africa must leverage on Russia’s goodwill to develop — Prof. Okoli

Prof. Maurice Okoli, President of the Nigerian Community in Russia
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By Ikenna Uwadileke

Prof. Maurice Okoli, the President, Nigerian Community in Russia, has emphasised the need for Africa to leverage on Russia’s huge reservoir of goodwill to develop the continent.

Okoli said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on the sideline of the 2nd Russia-Africa Economic and Humanitarian Summit on Friday in St. Petersburg.

NAN is one of the media partners of the Summit and its Managing Director, Mr Buki Ponle, is also attending the event.

The two-day summit was declared open on Thursday by the Russian President Vladimir Putin with many African leaders in attendance.

It aims at strengthening comprehensive and equal cooperation between Russia and African nations across all areas of society including politics, security, economic relations, science and technology, and the cultural and humanitarian spheres.

According to Okoli, the world is changing with a lot of things happening and definitely Russia is a huge country that plays important role in the world.

“When you talk of the energy sector Russia is almost the number one.

“Something like fertilizer, grain technology and atomic energy, so it cannot be ignored.

“On African side also there is need for continued corporation. Africa is open to all countries.

“Africa needs development, it needs partnership and new initiatives

“I can say there is a second scramble for African countries all the major powers are coming in for business, for influence. Definitely Africa is ready.

“I can say that the last frontier of business with about one billion population, with a lot of resources and young population definitely the eye of the world is in Africa.

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“And I can tell you that Russia has a good reservoir of goodwill in Africa and that goodwill was created by Soviet Union,” he said.

While appreciating the role played by Russia in Africa’s liberation movement, Okoli said that the massive economic and political assistance remains relevant.

“When Africa was struggling for independence in the late 50s and early 60s Soviet Union created a very important role in providing massive economic and political assistance to the liberation movement across the African continent.

“So, by that single act Africa will never forget and has not forgotten,” he said. (NAN)(

Edited by Ekemini Ladejobi

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