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Japan leverages fair for improved ties with Nigeria

The Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO) has expressed optimism about Nigeria's investment climate amid the harsh operating conditions for businesses in the country.

[files] Japan’s flag flutters REUTERS/Thomas Peter

The Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO) has expressed optimism about Nigeria’s investment climate amid the harsh operating conditions for businesses in the country.

The Trade Commissioner and Managing Director, JETRO Lagos, Taninami Takuma, explained that Nigeria is a big market to ignore, maintaining that more Japanese companies are looking forward to investing in the country.

Takuma stated this on the sidelines of the Lagos International Trade Fair opening ceremony at the weekend.

He, however, tasked the federal government to urgently address the nation’s infrastructure challenges, while also calling on the need to make foreign exchange accessible for the business community.

He said Nigeria is not an easy market because of the lack of infrastructure and insecurity in the country which he said is increasing the cost of doing business in the country.

“The situation is getting better and we know Nigeria is not a market you can ignore. There are lots of market opportunities in the country because of its huge population. This is one of our missions to promote Japanese businesses in the country,” he said.

“JETRO is well known as the governing body of Japan to promote trade and investment between Japan and the rest of the world. JETRO Lagos was established in 1955 and for more than 6 decades, we are trying to support various kinds of business between Nigeria and Japan.

According to him, the business relationship between Nigeria and Japan, in 2021 witnessed export from Nigeria to Japan hit 760 million dollars, while imports from Japan to Nigeria stood at 287million dollars.

He pointed out that the major commodity of export from Nigeria to Japan is Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG), which represents about 70 per cent of all exports.

He added that the number of Japanese companies in Nigeria is increasing, saying that the number of Japanese companies has increased from 21 to 45 businesses in 2022.

“It is notable that we recently have several VC funds and startups which are operated by Japanese persons in Nigeria. Nowadays arising innovative startups in Nigeria attract more Japanese business persons to invest and they are getting involved in this sector. Not only for VC funds, but trading houses and manufacturers are seeking opportunities to collaborate with Nigerian startups,” he stated.

He added: “However if we consider Japan as the third biggest economy in the world, current business relationships between Nigeria and Japan are still not enough. This refrains the fact that huge Nigerian market is yet to be known well by Japanese and Japanese companies.’’

One of our missions is to promote trade and investment. This is the reason why we have been exhibiting at Lagos International Trade Fair from 2015 to 2019 and after the COVID-19 crisis, we are now finally back to TBS.”

He said this year’s trade Fair will see 19 Japanese companies exhibit their brands to the Nigerian market, saying the products would contribute to the further development of the Nigerian economy.

“This time, on Saturdays and Sundays, we are holding the stage events here. Some of the exhibitors are on the stage to promote their brands through presentations and demonstrations. I am sure that these events help visitors to understand exhibiting brands and products more,” he said.