Nigeria: Russia-Ukraine war threatens completion of the $8bn Ajaokuta steel plant

By Akin Irede

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Posted on March 2, 2022 17:33

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin meets with Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari in Sochi
Russia’s President Vladimir Putin shakes hands with Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari during a meeting on the sidelines of the Russia–Africa Summit in Sochi, Russia October 23, 2019. Sputnik/Mikhail Metzel/Kremlin via REUTERS

Nigeria entered an agreement with the Russian government to complete the Ajaokuta Steel Complex, which has already cost more than $8bn over the past 40 years. However, the new sanctions Russia is facing in the light of its invasion of Ukraine are putting the project in jeopardy, experts say.

In October 2019, Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari and Russia’s Vladmir Putin met at the Russia-Africa Summit in Sochi and agreed to revive the uncompleted Ajaokuta steel mill. Many Nigerians were optimistic that 40 years after it was initiated, the complex – which has the potential to create some 100,000 jobs – would be inaugurated at a time when the country’s unemployment rate had reached an all-time high.

The Nigerian government subsequently set up the Ajaokuta Presidential Project Inauguration Team with a view to revamping the project based on a government-to-government agreement with funding from the Afreximbank and the Russian Export Centre.

They were expected to modernise the project and complete the project before Buhari leaves office, but we know it is no longer going to be possible for the project to be completed within this time frame.

However, before the Russian team that

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