BY: ONOME AMUGE
Despite being portrayed in the news as an antagonist in its current conflict with Ukraine, Russia’s economic stronghold and impact on a global scale cannot be overemphasised, forcing the West to tread gently towards a resolution.
Russia’s global influence also brings to fore the realisation that Nigeria needs to strengthen its economic impact towards attaining significant relevance to the world economy.
Akinbo Akin-Olugbade, power sector chairman of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), made the assertion during a recent interview on Lagos Talks 91.3FM, a Lagos-based radio station.
According to him, part of the reason the West is having problems dealing with Russia is because the transcontinental country is a major player in almost every sector of the global economy, including the manufacture of aviation materials; supplying 30 percent of Europe’s gas; and having a stronghold in the global financial system, making it difficult for the West and the world to “cut them off”.
Akin-Olugbade, who is also the managing director of Kawai Technologies, a supply chain management company, noted that the same economic achievements cannot be said of Nigeria that is still struggling to address challenges such as national budget insufficiency, import dependency and an unfavourable business environment.
Further comparing Russia’s economic position with that of Nigeria, he said; “Switching to Nigeria, does the world need us? Unfortunately the answer right now is the world doesn’t really need us. They wouldn’t feel it if we weren’t here. For a country Nigeria’s size, $30 billion-a-year budget is paltry when the United States spends that amount in two days days.”
For Nigeria to gain significant recognition globally, he suggested that the country needs to step up and invest more in education, technology, and infrastructure and create a more enabling environment that is valuable to the rest of the world.