Nigeria, Japan, others seek closer ties to improve trade in Africa

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By Moses Nosike

Following the need to develop Nigerian economy and other African countries, the Federal Government has indicated interest in improving its trade relationship with Japan even as the later has agreed to commit $30 billion for African development under the Asian Tiger’s sustainable development.

Based on this, the Federal Government has assured Japanese investors of a safe and business friendly environment for their investments, noting that it has begun to improve the ease of doing business in the country.

Speaking at the Japanese Business Mission to West Africa Business Seminar and Networking held in Lagos, the Minister, Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr. Okechukwu Enelamah, said that though the country is going through trying times, the present administration is working relentlessly to identify areas where Nigeria can attract the much needed foreign exchange to carry out developmental projects for economic growth and stability.

The Minister who was represented by the Executive Secretary, Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC), Ms. Yewande Sadiku, during a business seminar organised by Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO), said that there are more investment opportunities Nigeria and Japan can do considering the size of Japan.

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“There is a lot more both countries can do together. However, the Federal Government is doing more to improve the ease of doing business in the country and that is why it inaugurated the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC).

In addition, Director General, JETRO Paris, Mr. Susumu Kataoka, said that at the Tokyo international conference on Africa development, the Prime Minister of Japan, announced its commitment to invest about $30 billion in Africa for the sustainable development in Africa especially in infrastructure, human resources development, technology, improvement of living conditions and regional stability.

Also speaking at the event, Research Analyst, Asoko Insight Limited, Mr. Olayinka Omolere, said, “Nigeria as the largest population in Africa has huge untapped potential that needs to be developed to make Nigeria among the world leading economies in the world”.

Head, UNIDO investment & technology promotion office, Nigeria, Ms. Adebisi Olumodimu, said that the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation in Nigeria, is ready to direct Japanese investors to regional ECOWAS market and as well help in facilitate meetings and business discussions between potential Japanese investors with government MDA’s and state Governments.

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In the same vein, Senior Director, Africa Finance Corporation, Ato Gyasi, said, “there is need for interconnectivity in the race to develop trade in Africa. Even though developing a project tends to take a long time, infrastructure financing in Africa should be directed to retail trade, financial services, seaports, natural resources, telecom, roads & logistics, heavy industries, power, rail, agriculture etc.

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