Japan Seeks Enhanced Trade Ties with Nigeria

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The Japanese government has expressed its commitment to improving trade operations with Nigeria, in a bid to bolster economic ties between the two nations as soon as some highlighted existing challenges that need attention are tackled.

According to Takashi Oku, Japan’s Managing Director and Trade Commissioner at the Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO) who made this known while addressing the issues during the Lagos International Trade Fair, acknowledged the historically stable bilateral trade interactions between Nigeria and Japan, emphasized that addressing concerns related to foreign exchange and the high inflation rate is crucial to attracting more foreign and direct investments (FDIs) into Nigeria.

“Foreign companies and Nigerian companies are struggling to get foreign currencies. Investors need to be guaranteed easy access to forex as this would help Nigeria’s economy grow, while also encouraging foreign direct investments,” Oku stated.

During the exhibition, the Japanese pavilion saw significant engagement, with over 50,000 visitors stopping by, indicating a growing interest in Japanese products and services. Oku noted a positive trend, with the number of Japanese businesses participating nearly doubling from 19 in 2022 to 33 in 2023.

“The turnout of Japan participants at the fair has been a gradual recovery since COVID-19, and this year, participants at this year’s fair are almost double what we had last year, and this for us is an achievement,” Oku remarked.

In terms of future collaboration, Oku expressed Japan’s interest in introducing more products and services to Nigeria. He revealed ongoing partnerships between Japanese and Nigerian companies and outlined plans for potential investments in Nigeria’s food and machinery industry.

Supporting this initiative, Matsunaga Kazuyoshi, the Japanese Ambassador to Nigeria, acknowledged Nigeria’s thriving economy, sizable population, abundant natural resources, and developing human capital. While recognizing Nigeria’s rich cultural heritage, he stressed that trade and investment are essential for Japan to contribute to Nigeria’s economic progress.

While both nations are keen on fostering stronger economic ties, the need to address challenges such as foreign exchange and inflation rates remains a shared priority. The increased participation of Japanese businesses at the trade fair signals a positive trajectory in the relationship, and both countries are poised to explore avenues for mutual cooperation and growth in the coming years.

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