Israel on Thursday reaffirmed its commitment to support the Nigeria-Israel Business Forum (NIBF) initiative to further deepen economic cooperation between the two countries.
Mr Yotam Kreiman, Charge d’ Affairs of Israel to Nigeria, made this known in his address at the NIBF 2021-Annual General Meeting organised by the Forum in Abuja.
Yotam, also Acting Israeli Ambassador to Nigeria, commended NIBF’s contributions in the area of trade cooperation between the two countries.
According to him, it is an opportunity for companies in Israel and Nigeria to closely work together on a company-to-company level, business-to-business level, equally on a business-to-government and government-to-government levels.
Yotam said, “We have met some companies from Israel and in Nigeria; we will find more ways we can cooperate on economic levels between the government and companies in Israel and Nigeria.
“Nigeria is taking huge steps towards where we are hoping to see more of the successes coming up; a lot of the successes Israel has recorded are through innovation.
“And, with startups it is slowly being adopted by Nigeria, which is building with the cooperation with Israel’s own unique, strong and life ecosystem form of innovation here in the country.
“So, we are expecting to see more companies, both existing ones in Nigeria and additional ones growing now, to facilitate their businesses and to grow their businesses through collaboration with Israel.
He identified shared similarity between Israel and Nigeria on security challenges, saying through collaboration between Israeli security companies and the Nigerian government, both countries could explore Israeli technologies to deal with security threats.
He further expressed optimism of better future for Nigeria with lots of hope and happiness, adding that the development is to see a more secure and safer Nigeria in the near future.
“Nigeria is building and growing rapidly, faster than we imagined it to be; we have seen more companies, both those starting to accelerate into hubs that Israel and other governments are developing.
“We have lots of collaborations from NIBF that have been very active in recent years; in the last two years, the forum had to take a step back, because of COVID-19.
“It limited number of meetings organised under the umbrella of the NIBF, but now COVID-19 is reduced, more people are taking the vaccinations and life is slowly going back to its track.
“We are going to be able to accommodate more events in the coming years, especially events planned for 2022; we have launched it in this open annual general forum,” he added.
Speaking at the event, Mr Segun Odebunmi, Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Information, stressed the need to deepen Israel-Nigeria diplomatic cooperation, to achieve more meaningful growth.
Odebunmi, Member, representing Surelere Ogu-Oluwa Constituency, said, “No nation can stand as an island, there is need for Nigeria to collaborate with other countries of the world, so that we can work together as business partners, if governments are driving technologies, they cannot drive it alone, they need to provide enabling environment for citizens to meet with other countries.
“They can key into that kind of technology that you are bringing into the country for the benefit of the nation, so it is very important for us to have it,” Odebunmi said.
He further advised the organisation to always work closely with the National Assembly to ensure effective policy formulation and implementation in the country.
For his part, the National President of NIBF, Mr Owusi Patgrace, decried the lack of policy framework towards ensuring due process in business cooperation to have hindered growth in Nigeria.
According to him, although Nigerians spend hard earned money to bring foreign investors to hook on available resources that abound in the country, the lack of policy framework is a problem.
“There is no solid legislation banning back-door movements; I could go to Israel, discuss fantastic business proposals with them, come into Nigeria and meet the authority that matters. In the end, these are the things we can do with Israel that will go well with us, but immediately I present it to the organisation that is the end, they might call me for meeting once and never call again.
“The next thing is that the organisation will set out to do the business and put me behind, it is very bad, it does not help any organisation, NIBF suffered it so much that we want to put a stop to it.
“The only people that can help put a stop to it is the National Assembly and the Federal Government,” Patgrace said.
The attracted virtual-remarks came from Ayelet Levin-Karp, Head, Israeli Trade and Economic Mission to West Africa, Amb. Nart Kolo, Nigerian Embassy in Tel-Aviv, Israel, and Amb. Dada Olisah, former Nigeria Ambassador to Israel.
High point of the event was pitching sessions by four Israeli companies via zoom and presentation by five Nigerian companies, as well as question and answers on international business cooperation. (NAN)