Citizen Centre for International Relations Research, RICC, and the Embassy of Israel in Nigeria have said a good business relationship between Nigeria and Israel would help accelerate the country’s economic diversion from oil to other economic sectors, especially on Small and Medium Enterprises, SMEs, agriculture and solid minerals.
This was made known yesterday in Abuja at a one-day symposium with the theme, ‘Nigeria-Isreali Relations: Focus on SMEs, Agriculture & Solid Minerals.’
Speaking at the event, the Minister of State for Industry, Trade & Investment, Hajia Aisha Abubakar said Nigeria is a highly blessed nation with abundant human and natural resources that require substantial value addition and creation of an enabling environment to attract local and foreign investments.
Abubakar said that Nigerian government recognises the relative importance of micro small and medium enterprises in socio-economic development, adding that they were known to contribute significantly to jobs and wealth creation, poverty alleviation, growth in GDP, even development, innovation for competitiveness and many others.
She revealed that government had set out to diversify the Nigerian economy and address the fundamental infrastructural issues hindering productive activities in the country.
The minister therefore explained that the goal was to move Nigeria beyond selling just raw materials to more value-added manufacturing activities.
“We can and must produce what we consume. The days of exploring raw materials and jobs are coming to an end. It is time to build on our competitive advantage and turn quantity advantage to productive advantage.”
Speaking also, chairman of the occasion, Senator Iyorwuese Hagher described the event as a key mile stone for Nigeria and Israeli to strengthen their relationship.
Hagher said: “The state of Israel is basically looked upon in Nigeria as a place to end our pilgrimage. A place we go to acquire our spiritual intensity .today we are spinning that boarder, we are recognising Israel for what it is- one of the key countries that have survived, thrived after survival of enormous challenges bordering on the existence of the Israel itself. Today Nigeria is in a similar state.
He said that Nigeria must reinvest itself, and find alternative to readdress the challenge of the country bordering on unemployment and economic hardship. In his own remarks, Director General RICC, Dr Cletus Akwaya promised to extend the business relationship not only to Israel but to other countries.
“We are not going to stop only with Israel but we will promote good business partnership between Nigeria and other countries. We want to see how Nigeria can be a better player in a concept of Africa as we have been as well as and sustain her status in the concept of a big brother in Africa and be a major voice in international system.”
Akwaya urged Nigerians to take interest in international affairs, adding that it is a business of everybody.
Meanwhile, the Israeli Ambassador to Nigeria, Amb. Uriel Palti promised that Israel would at anytime support Nigeria to harness its economic potentials in the three sectors.
Palti represented by a senior diplomat, Sir Tony Obiechinna, assured Nigeria that Israel had made Africa a priority in foreign affairs, and that Nigeria was not excluded on the list.

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