High Commissioner Veluppillai Kananathan presented the Letter of Credence appointing him as the High Commissioner of Sri Lanka to the Federal Republic of Nigeria with residence in Kenya to His Excellency Muhammadu Buhari, the President of Nigeria, at the State House in Abuja on May 18, 2023. The President and the High Commissioner exchanged views during the private meeting that followed the official ceremony, where at the outset the High Commissioner conveyed the greetings and best wishes of the President of Sri Lanka, Ranil Wickremesinghe to the President of Nigeria. While recalling the recent gathering of the Heads of State of the Commonwealth countries in the United Kingdom, President Buhari extended his friendly greetings to the President of Sri Lanka.
High Commissioner Kananathan briefed President Buhari on the current political and economic situation in Sri Lanka and the efforts being taken by the Government towards economic recovery. In response, President Buhari stated that the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic was severe in many countries, and his country followed the developments in Sri Lanka with keen interest while expressing satisfaction on the progress being achieved.
High Commissioner Kananathan said that the current government headed by President Ranil Wickremesinghe attaches great importance to Sri Lanka’s relations with Africa, including with Nigeria, which is one of the leading economies in Africa, and to strengthening cooperation between the regions and the two countries.
As members of the Commonwealth of Nations, the Global South, the G77, and the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), High Commissioner Kananathan highlighted that Sri Lanka and Nigeria share common interests on global issues and he appreciated the support extended by Nigeria to Sri Lanka in international fora. The High Commissioner expressed his desire to consolidating existing ties between the two countries to further strengthen bilateral relations.
President Buhari, in response, conveyed that there is a huge potential to develop economic cooperation between the two countries and highlighted the rewarding opportunities for investment, particularly in renewable energy, oil and gas, agro-allied industries, telecommunications, solid minerals, etc. The President added that the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC), which is mandated to encourage and assist investment in Nigeria, functions as a one-stop investment center with the close cooperation of 27 governmental and state-owned agencies in order to consolidate and streamline administrative procedures for new businesses and investments.
High Commissioner Kananathan, while appreciating the excellent defence cooperation existing between Sri Lanka and Nigeria, proposed to identify other avenues for cooperation for the mutual benefit of the two countries.
Further, the High Commissioner apprised the Nigerian President of his long experience and knowledge in Africa and recalled his role as a member of the International Election Monitoring Team in the recently held presidential elections in Nigeria.
In conclusion, while wishing the High Commissioner every success in promoting bilateral relations between Sri Lanka and Nigeria, the President assured the Nigerian government’s fullest support and cooperation towards that end.
Nigeria, a country located on the western coast of Africa, has abundant natural resources, notably large deposits of petroleum and natural gas. The Nigerian economy is one of the largest in Africa. Sri Lanka High Commission in Kenya is now concurrently accredited to Nigeria.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Ministry of Foreign Affairs – Sri Lanka.