By Nana Musa
Abuja – President of the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), Prof. Benedict Orama was on Tuesday honoured with Russia National Award for revitalising trade and economic relations between Africa and Russia.
A statement issued on Tuesday by the Spokesman of Afreximbank, Mr Obi Emekekwue said that the national honour of “The Order of Friendship” was bestowed on Oramah by the President of Russia Vladimir Putin in Moscow.
Putin said that the award conferred on Oramah was specifically in recognition of the role played by Afreximbank in revitalising trade and economic relations between Africa and Russia.
He said that this was evident in the success of the Russia-Africa Summit and Economic Forum held in Sochi, Russian Federation from Oct. 23 to Oct. 24, as well as the rapidly rising trade and investment relationship between Russia and Africa.
“The award on Oramah falls under the category of “Special merit in strengthening peace, friendship, cooperation and understanding between nations for fruitful work on the convergence and mutual enrichment of cultures of nations and peoples,’’ Putin said.
According to the statement, the award took place during a ceremony held in Kremlin, seat of the Government of the Russian Federation, and was witnessed by senior members of the government and other dignitaries.
“The Order of Friendship is a state decoration established by Boris Yeltsin, the first president of the Russian Federation, and is awarded to Russians and foreign nationals.
“This is for Special merit in strengthening peace, friendship, “cooperation and understanding between nations, for fruitful work on the convergence and mutual enrichment of cultures of nations and peoples.
“It is also for active conservation, development and promotion of the cultural and historical heritage of Russia;
“It is also for great contribution to the implementation of joint ventures with the Russian Federation, major economic projects and attracting investments into the economy of the Russian Federation, and Broad charitable activities.’’
Other recipients of the award included Vice-President Rosario Zambrana of Nicaragua, William Craft Brumfield, a U S citizen and professor of Slavic Studies at Tulane University.
Others were Prof. Emeritus Rein Müllerson, an Estonian citizen and International Law Researcher at Tallinn University, Nikos Daskalandonakis, Russian Honorary Consul in Crete; and Armi Lopez Garcia, Russian Honorary Consul in the Philippines.
Some previous winners of the honour include former U S Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, and former United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon among others.