Minister Nikos Dendias paid the first visit of a Greek foreign minister to Nigeria on Monday, and met with his counterpart Geoffrey Onyeama in the capital of Abuja.
“We see the Meditteranean Sea as a linking bridge rather than a dividing border,” Dendias said prior to meeting with Onyeama, therefore Greece sees Nigeria as a neighbor, he added.
As Africa contains the fastest-growing economies in the world and Nigeria is the largest one in the continent, Greece believes that as a member of the European Union it can facilitate communication between Europe and Africa, the Greek minister said.
The visiting minister also thanked his Nigerian counterpart for referring to the strong presence of the Greek business community in the African country for over 100 years. As both ministers noted, “Greek names are familiar in Nigeria, meaning that this Greek business community did not come to Nigeria to make a profit and then leave, but became Greek and Nigerian together, serving both countries, both nations, and our common future.” Dendias expressed the hope that on his next visit he will be able to travel to Lagos and meet with Greek business community, “for which we are very proud, and this could become our linking bridge.”
He added that the two countries were linked also through “the best basketball player in the United States and the world currently, Giannis Antetokounmpo, familiar to the Greeks as Giannis.”
Dendias and Onyeama signed a memorandum of understanding on bilateral talks between Greece and Nigeria, while the Greek minister noted that there is a long list of agreements which both foreign ministries are working to complete. He also invited his counterpart to visit Athens soon.
In addition, the Greek FM said that Greece is donating 907,000 doses of Covid vaccines to Nigeria (and 100,000 to Angola) through the World Health Organization’s Covax mechanism for access to vaccines.
The gift was announced during Dendias’ meeting with Federal Minister for Health Adeleke Olorunnimbe Mamora, and is part of Greece’s assistance to third countries to fight the coronavirus pandemic.