Nigeria and Israel have entered into a partnership to strengthen their bilateral trade relation.
The Bank of Industry (BoI) Acting Managing Director, Mr. Waheed Olagunju, told Israeli Ambassador to Nigeria Mr. Guy Feldman, who visited him that the deal was timely.
He said the ambassador came at a time Nigeria was trying to increase its agro-processing capacity, urging domestic and foreign investors to take advantage of the opportunity to invest in the agricultural sector.
Olagunju said the deal would also seek areas of collaboration in the Federal Government’s recently launched Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP).
The BoI chief maintained that there was a lot of money to be made by Isreali investors in Nigeria. “Most foreign companies that invested in Nigeria reaped profitably. We believe if the Israeli business model is right, they can reap much more in the Nigerian economy because of our vast natural resource endowments,” he said.
While pointing out that there is no country as blessed as Nigeria, Olagunju assured that BoI was ready to work with Israelis who want to do business in Nigeria.
“Whoever wants to do business in Nigeria can always work with BoI and we will give them all our support. We are on ground in Nigeria to hold the hands of both domestic and foreign investors who want to do business in the country,” he said.
According to Olagunju, the Development Finance Institution (DFI) was looking forward to a very good time with its foreign and domestic development partners, with Israeli investors being one of the most outstanding.
“You are coming at the right time when the country is trying to improve and increase its agro processing capacity because we have had bumper harvest last year and we are still going to have more in the coming years. If steps are not taken urgently to improve the agro processing industry, there could be post harvest losses and this will serve as a disincentive to farmers,” Olagunju noted.
He explained that Nigeria was stepping up her agro-processing capacity to ensure that she preserves and adds value to her agricultural produce, while also preparing them for the export market.
Responding, Feldman said the Israeli Government believes that there is much more both economies can do in terms of trade, stating that the partnership would identify areas on how to improve and strengthen bilateral trade agreements between Nigeria and Israel.
“Israel has ideas and innovations where Nigeria can tap from to drive any sector of the economy. The trade between the two countries is something which we have more with the smallest countries in Europe and other places and this shows that something is definitely wrong somewhere, because we believe Nigeria is a huge economy and we believe we can do na whole lot more,” he said.
The Israeli envoy said he believes that if both countries do what they should to make the trade bigger than what it presently is, Nigeria, in the middle of this century, will be comparable with China because the growth in any aspect of Africa is the biggest in the world.
“Nigeria is a huge market where the possibilities are incredible. We can support the Nigerian economy with communication, cyber security intelligence, agricultural and small business support. We share lots of things we can do together, but we need to find the mechanism to strengthen our partnership,” Feldman said.
He, however, added that the Israeli government has decided to push very hard on coming back to Africa, saying that Nigeria is one of the top 20 biggest economies in world in terms of Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
“This is why we are yearning to come back to be a part of it. We are here to some good business,” Feldman noted.