The participation of 33 Japanese companies in the just concluded 37th Lagos International Trade Fair against 19 last year is an indication of Japanese investors’ confidence in Nigeria’s economy, Tokashi Oku, managing director and trade commissioner of Japan External Trade Organization, JETRO has said.
He told BusinessDay at the closing of the fair last Sunday that Japanese Pavilion recorded over 50,000 visitors during the 10 days trade fair. “It was good idea to introduce the companies’ products and brands to the visitors”.
He said though Nigeria is experiencing economic challenges including lack of forex, high inflation, naira slow appreciation against the dollar, but the increase of Japanese companies exhibitors was a belief in Nigeria. The companies were in automobile industry, machinery and food industries and lifestyle services.
He noted the low trade between Japan and Nigeria with oil accounting for 80 percent of Nigeria exports , but Oku said the trade can be improved. “We can find more mutual collaboration between the two countries”, he said.
Speaking at the opening of the fair trade, Matsunaga Kazuyoshi, Japanese ambassador to Nigeria said that the international business community is now paying close attention to the potential of Nigeria more than ever.
The ambassador reiterated the enormous potentials in the economy, population, natural resources, growing human capital and rich culture.
He said it was because of the understanding of the immense potential of the Nigerian economy that Japan has long deepened its economic relationship with Nigeria. “More than 80 years have already passed since Japan’s trade office, now the Japan External Trade Organization, JETRO, was opened in Lagos in 1939, preceding the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1960”.
Matsunaga Kazuyoshi however said that to truly achieve economic growth in Nigeria, trade and investment play an indispensable role. “They serve as the catalyst for job creation, higher productivity, capital access, learning and innovation, and expansion for technology spill overs
He sees Lagos as the gateway to attracting foreign investment into Nigeria, and “ the Lagos International Trade Fair 2023 will be a distinct showcase of the momentum for growth through trade and investment.
Speaking at the closing ceremony, according to agency report, Michael Olawale-Cole, President, LCCI, said the event’s theme: “Navigating Economic Challenges: Forging a Path to Prosperity” underlined the importance of relationships and networking among businesses for wealth creation, trade partnership and productivity growth.
He urged government at all levels to continue addressing the enabling environment issues in the country, with particular focus on infrastructure, insecurity and implementation of policies to address the monetary policy performance.
This, he said in the monitored report, was critical to fully harness the huge enterprising resources of domestic and foreign investors for economic diversification