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Nigerian President's visit to boost cooperative ties

Ha Noi (VNA) - Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo's visit to Viet Nam from April 17-18 aims to boost bilateral cooperation, especially in the areas of the economy and trade.

The visit, made at the invitation of President Tran Duc Luong, will create an opportunity for the two countries to share experiences in economic development and poverty reduction, and discuss measures to promote coordination at international fora.

Viet Nam and Nigeria established diplomatic relations on May 25, 1975. Their relationship has been strengthened through the exchange of visits by high-level delegations and agreements signed between the two countries.

The then Deputy Foreign Minister visited Nigeria in 1976 as a Special Envoy of the Vietnamese Government. President Tran Duc Luong and his Nigerian counterpart Olusegun Obasanjo met on the sidelines of the United Nations summit held in September 2000 to discuss measures to bolster bilateral relations, especially in agriculture and handicraft making. They also discussed the establishment of a joint committee between the two governments. Luong and Obasanjo met again at the 13th Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) Summit in Malaysia in February, 2003.

Viet Nam and Nigeria signed a trade agreement in June 2001, creating a legal basis for boosting their economic and commercial ties. Two-way trade value is still modest, reaching 25 million USD in 2004. Viet Nam exports rubber tyres, medicines, TV sets and electronic appliances to Nigeria while importing raw cashew nuts from the country.

With a population of 130 million, the biggest in the region, Nigeria has great potential for agricultural development. However, the country has high demand for food imports (about 1 million tonnes of rice a year). Nigeria has imported large volumes of rice from Viet Nam through a third country.

Viet Nam plans to open a commercial representative office in Lagos city to boost trade ties with Nigeria.

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