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Japan And Nigeria Partnership: From Aid To Intensifying Trade And Investment

By on November 28, 2011

The past decades witnessed a Japan-Nigeria partnership which was driven by aid and volunteerism. Recent realities and researches have exposed the weakness of using aid to steer development. 21century relationships reflect and demand more than aid but a new paradigm anchored on trade and investment which produced and still is producing transformation across Africa.

At the Nigeria-Japan Network investment meeting held at Radisson Blu Hotel in Victoria Island, Lagos, last weekend Akira Makinoya who is the Chief Executive Office of LiveWell Inc. pointed out that real trade and investment is coming to Nigeria. He said what happened was the Japanese left as a result of the military incursion into politics in the 1990s and the perceived insecurity challenge. He is said both countries see more robust business relationship, more FDIs and targeted areas of investment are manufacturing, consultancy, education, FMCG and more Japanese presence in Nigeria’s economy.

Japan parades some of the best credentials in assisting Africa in moving towards a better living conditions and sustainable development. We have seen more volunteer works, increasing assistance in agribusiness, technical education and support for democracy but all these are not enough. The Japanese support for Africa is just well documented, appreciated and celebrated.

But what has the most potential to change Nigeria’s socio-economic scape is trade and investment like what the Chinese are doing across Africa today. It is time we move our conversations beyond aids giving to creating mutual value in a sustainable manner.

We think Nigeria is overdue for real Japanese investment and not one hinge on benevolence. Our credentials and returns on investment point investors to Nigeria with a middle class estimated to be 38 million strong. This is a huge boost to sales of consumer goods such as cars, fashionable clothing, air conditioners, computers and satellite television decoders etc.

Nigeria’s pace of development has been steady and growing. With this growth, we have more people being lifted out of poverty and others moving up into upscale income bracket. Nigeria has a youthful population with a median age of 18 and constitutes more than 60% of its over 150 million people that are aged 25 years or younger.

If there is any time in the history of our esteemed relationship to deepen trade and investment, it is now. Welcome to Nigeria, Japan.