Nigerian delegation to the G77+China Summit, which Vice President Kashim Shettima led, on September 16, 2023, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Republic of Cuba to enhance collaboration in innovation, science and technology between the two countries. State House Director of Information at the Office of the Vice President, Olusola Abiola, in a statement that he signed the same day revealed areas of cooperation covered by the bilateral agreement. The statement was titled “Nigeria signs MoU with Cuba for Science, technology development.”
They include biotechnology, scientific investigation and innovation, technological development, human resources development, specialist exchange in the area of science and technology, and technologies transfer for development areas. Abiola said that the signing ceremony, which took place on the sidelines of the G77+China Summit at Hotel Palco La Habana, was the high point of Nigeria participation at the summit. The Minister of Innovation, Science & Technology, Uche Nnaji, signed on behalf of Nigeria, while Cuba Minister of Science, Technology and Environment, Elba Montoya signed on her country’s behalf.
Bilateral relations between both countries would further deepen.
While extolling President Bola Tinubu for his leadership which, according to Nnaji, resulted in the signing of the agreement, he affirmed that Nigeria would maximize the opportunities provided by the bilateral agreement. He emphasized that the implementation of the agreement will commence in earnest, saying that he would set up the appropriate mechanism to work out the modalities for a program of action. Shettima stated that Nigeria places a high premium on South-South cooperation as a platform for promoting sustainable development of the global South.
In his words, the bilateral agreement would focus on R&D as well as human resource development, which would further deepen partnership between the two countries. Before the commencement of the summit, Shettima had told his Cuban counterpart, Salvador Mesa, that Nigeria would use the opportunity offered by the gathering to sign important MoU’s with Cuba for agricultural, scientific and technological development. Present at the signing were the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Adamu Lamuwa; Nigerian Ambassador to Cuba, Ben Okoyen; and other senior government officials.
There is a need to explore opportunities in several sectors.
Ahead of the G77+China Leaders’ Summit, Shettima had expressed the desire of the Tinubu administration to deepen existing bilateral relations with the Republic of Cuba. “Our relationship has been very excellent over the years and this relation needs to be strengthened and upscaled,” Shettima told Mesa at the Palace De Revolution in Havana. Also, the State House Director of Information had revealed that in a statement titled “G77+China Leaders’ Summit: Nigeria, Cuba to deepen strategic relations.”
Shettima traced the history of relations between Nigeria, Africa and Cuba, especially its support for Southern Africa. He said, “We hold Cuba in high esteem especially your commitment to us in Africa. This is why I came with Ministers of Agriculture and that of Science, Technology and Innovation to explore future areas of partnership.” The vice president stressed the need to explore opportunities in science, technology and innovation as well as the agriculture sector. He delivered a special message to the president of Cuba, Miguel Diaz-Canel, from President Bola Tinubu, assuring him of the latter’s commitment to deepening their mutual relations.
Cuba considers itself an African state, says VP Mesa.
Meanwhile, in his remarks, Cuba vice president praised Nigerian leadership role in Africa and the world. Mesa said that Cuba takes its relations with Nigeria seriously and noted that the support to Africa in past decades is because Cuba considers itself an African State. He expressed his country’s readiness to explore new areas of collaboration with Nigeria in sectors such as health, biodiversity and agriculture. He also thanked Nigeria for its participation at the upcoming Summit. “We attach great importance to your presence here,” he said.
The Group of 77: Website