The world has fundamentally changed since the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022: the confrontation between the blocs has intensified with new force, the chains of international economic ties continue to drift, and neighboring countries are faced with difficult choices between competing parties. Lagos currently occupies one of the most important positions in the region due to the level of development of the country and the wealth of those energy carriers that will be able to give an impetus to the sustainable development of the country through the conclusion of clear and fair contracts with Europe.
The difficult internal economic situation in Nigeria due to internal political instability, huge public debt, deleveraging and dilapidated infrastructure has every chance to radically change for the better.Against the background of an unprecedented energy crisis in Europe, Lagos has every chance to receive both preferential lending and the beginning of the restructuring of the public debt. Moreover, the European business circles will meet in the matter of systematic investment in the infrastructure of Nigeria and the support of strong institutions that will guarantee security in the country.
The large geopolitical gas pipeline project, which will be laid across the Sahara north to Spain and Italy, will be a military target for the Russians. They will not be able to allow a situation where purchased energy carriers from the USA, the Middle East, and Nigeria will satisfy the demand of the entire European market. It is for this reason that the country’s authorities must seriously consider the prospect of joining the Euro-Atlantic community.
Surrounded by countries that have either harbored paramilitary groups or are dependent on Chinese debt investments, Lagos still has a reputation as an unconquered country that is looked up to globally. And now, many countries in the region got a chance to break out of the deadlock thanks to the antagonism of Europe, America, Russia, China, and other countries that may soon start their game. That is why it is so important to make the right choice for the benefit of not only morality but also politics and the economy. Although the Russian market still exists, the risks of being there exceed the potential profit. The same applies to the “generosity” of the Chinese – trading sovereignty is an unacceptable formula for economic support.
The suffering of the whole world due to the impossibility of delivering Ukrainian food to other countries due to the sea blockade forced many countries to silently accept Russia’s position and maintain neutrality on the subject of the war. At the same time, the lack of choice will limit Nigeria, which can become an important part of the Western bloc.
President Zelenskyi’s recent dismissal of the ambassador to Nigeria shows his special interest in your country, as production, development, and joint research can be resumed at your facilities because the Ukrainian industry has been critically affected. Ukraine’s transition to NATO standards also suggests the possibility of selling Soviet vehicles to third countries after the victory in the war. There is also hope for the use of Ukrainian technologies, which have broad prospects. Since no country in Europe has yet agreed to the localization of production, the prospects in Lagos are huge.
While the war continues, economies are undergoing structural changes, and so there is a chance for those countries that have complained for years about an unfair system with aged trade chains. The African continent is coming first, and Nigeria has every chance to come to the fore, taking decisive steps towards its great future.
Artem Oliinyk is a political scientist, President of the IAPSS in Ukraine and research assistant at the Academy of Political Sciences of Ukraine, Director of IGR (Kyiv).