THE first head of state to arrive in the national Capital at the recently-concluded G20 Summit was President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Bola Ahmed Tinubu. Though Nigeria, as part of the African Union, was not a member of G20 till then, Tinubu was invited by India as a Distinguished Guest at the Summit. His visit underscored Nigeria’s significance as one of India’s principal trade partners in Africa.
President Tinubu congratulated Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the success of India’s G20 presidency and expressed gratitude for India’s role in securing a permanent seat for the African Union in the Group of 20. This, he said, showed India’s commitment to advancing the interests of the Global South.
President Tinubu expressed optimism about G20’s potential to further highlight African aspirations on the global stage. He tweeted on X, “Congratulations to the @_AfricanUnion on becoming a permanent member of the #G20. As a continent, we look forward to further advancing our aspirations on the global stage.”
On the sidelines of the G20 meetings, PM Modi and President Tinubu held productive talks on various areas of wide-ranging bilateral cooperation, including trade and investment, defence, agriculture, millets, fintech, and capacity building, according to a statement released by the Ministry of External Affairs.
The Nigerian delegation at G20 comprised four key ministers –- Foreign Minister, Finance Minister, Industry and Trade Minister, and Communications and Digital Economy Minister. A large business delegation also accompanied the four ministers, signifying a shared commitment to fortifying trade partnerships.
Emphasising the importance of India’s role in facilitating the African Union’s inclusion in G20, Tolu Ogunlesi, advisor to the Minister of Industry, Trade, and Investment, said, “It was a significant step forward for the African Union to join G20. Having more diverse voices on the global stage is beneficial. India led the effort to increase representation, and credit goes to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.”
India’s invitation to Nigeria as a guest country for the G20 Summit exemplified the value placed on the relationship between the two nations. Tolu reiterated, “This gesture of inviting Nigeria as a guest country for the G20 Summit demonstrated how much India valued our relationship. Our two nations shared similarities, having both been British colonies, and our societies and cultures were diverse.”