As Nigeria and Vietnam continue to deepen cooperation across different sectors, when properly nurtured, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, says Nigeria’s friendship with the South East Asian country can yield much more beneficial fruits for citizens of both nations.
Osinbajo spoke on Monday evening during the State Banquet held in his honour by his Vietnamese counterpart, Madam Vo Thi Anh Xuan, at the International Convention Centre, Hanoi.
“Our friendship with Vietnam, which we cherish most dearly, is one that will develop, especially now that we have very anticipatory greater collaboration and; we are eager to nurture that relationship. We have so much in common that increased cooperation between Nigeria and Vietnam can only yield beneficial fruits for both of us,” Osinbajo noted.
According to the Vice President “our tropical climate, relatively high population and developmental aspirations have dictated that we pay serious attention to agriculture and manufacturing.”
He commended Vietnam’s remarkable efforts in those sectors and the “consistently high GDP growth despite strong global headwinds,” which he added “are worthy of emulation.”
Continuing the Vice President observed that with the “youthful population of digital natives, both Nigeria and Vietnam are also drawn to innovation and technology, revealing yet another vista of potential cooperation.”
He added that “trade between our two countries is growing steadily and I am happy also to note our very fruitful discussions. We discussed the potential to deepen corporation between our two countries.”
While thanking the Vietnamese authorities for the kind donation of masks to Nigeria during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Vice President assured that relations between both countries in the coming years would be more fruitful.
On her part, the Vietnamese Vice President, Madam Vo Thi Anh Xuan agreed with Osinbajo and commended Nigeria’s efforts in leading West Africa on the path of progress, citing the country’s energy transition efforts as an example.
She acknowledged that both Nigeria and Vietnam shared common challenges and developmental aspirations, citing her country’s economic development targets based on its Agenda 2045 as an example, assuring that Vietnam will continue to partner with Nigeria across different sectors, describing Nigeria a worthy partner.
Earlier, Osinbajo held bilateral talks with Vietnam’s Prime Minister, Pham Minh Chinh, at his office in Hanoi, where both leaders agreed on the need for more high-level political engagements between the governments of the two republics.
The Vietnamese Prime Minister told the Nigerian VP, “We always seek stronger relationship with you to build substance in the relationship,” and expressed hope that with the VP’s visit to Hanoi, both governments can “forge stronger relationships, especially political diplomatic relationships as a foundation into trade, development and security.”
Responding, Osinbajo said Nigeria is proud of the relationship with Vietnam and happy that it is growing with even more potential.
“As Nigeria is the most popular black nation in the world and the largest economy on the African continent, we are strategic partners for countries seeking to expand economically,” Osinbajo noted, adding that with the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) now in force, Nigeria is at the center of the largest free trade zone of 1.4 billion people in Africa.”
The Vice President and the Prime Minister also discussed how both countries can assist each other to get more economic leverage in Africa, ECOWAS and Association of Southeast Asian Nations, ASEAN.
For instance, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh said Nigeria is “the gateway to the West Africa market,” while also noting the need for greater collaboration between ECOWAS and ASEAN.
Both leaders also agreed that, put together Nigeria and Vietnam has over 300 million people, which is a formidable market to explore.