Japan to expand Nigerian operations for ECOWAS market
Having identified Nigeria as its frontier market for its products, Japanese investments under the aegis of Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO), a Japanese government-related body which promotes trade and investment between Japan and other nations, have unveiled plans to expand their operations in the country with a view to accessing markets in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) region.
According to JETRO, a number of Japanese companies are keen on expanding their businesses in the country, especially as they consider Nigeria as a business hub for exports into countries in the ECOWAS region.
Besides, JETRO unveiled plans of Japanese firms setting up assembly plants in Nigeria, with a view to achieving full-scale vehicle production, while equally implementing a technology transfer agenda that would enhance local production.
Indeed, the move is coming on the heels of Isuzu Motors Limited and Koncept Autocentre Limited’s announcement of plans to start truck assembly in the second quarter of 2016.
Trade Commissioner and Managing Director of JETRO Lagos ,Taku Miyazaki, said Japanese car companies believe they can assemble and produce automobiles in Africa’s largest economy and export same to other African countries.
Miyazaki, while addressing journalists at the just concluded Lagos International Trade Fair, said a number of Japanese companies have indicated interest to expand businesses in Nigeria, promising that these firms will transfer advanced technology and machinery that will assist the country’s manufacturers.
“Olam Sanyo Foods Limited, a joint venture of Japanese Sanyo Foods Company Limited and Olam International in Singapore, has also been producing instant noodles ‘Cherrie’ since last year,” Miyazaki said.
“They are not just making and selling their products in Nigeria. They create jobs, educate staff, transfer technology and share values of Japanese craftsmanship. I believe that can serve development in the Nigerian manufacturing sector and contribute in diversifying its economy,” he said.
He identified areas of business cooperation between Nigeria and Japan as manufacturing, engineering and infrastructure.
“Japan has competitiveness in manufacturing and automobiles. Secondly, there is much cooperation in engineering and infrastructure. Last year, both import from Japan to Nigeria and export from Nigeria to Japan increased significantly. Import from Japan, mainly consisted of machinery, steel products and vehicles, marked around USD 728 million, 21.0 percent more than in 2013 (in Japanese currency base). On the other hand, export from Nigeria to Japan which was dominated by natural gas and a few of sesame seeds, also increased 36.8 percent to nearly $4.5 billion in 2014.
“On the other hand, there is huge opportunity in agriculture in Nigeria. The export of Nigeria to Japan is dominated by natural gas. However, Nigeria is the number one sesame seeds supplier to Japan. We also import cocoa from Nigeria,” he disclosed.
He further said that Japan’s main exports to Nigeria are machineries, automobiles and steel products, adding that many Japanese exhibitors at the Lagos International Trade Fair this year have more customers than they did in 2014.