TICAD7: Another Opportunity for Nigeria

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Saturday Letter1

It is strongly believed that Nigeria, being the largest economy in Africa, stands a better chance to benefit from the 7th Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD7) which held in the City of Yokohama August 28-30, 2019. 

Seeing the Lagos State Governor Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu and his Borno counterpart Prof. Zulum among the delegation accompanying the President raised the bar of hope that Nigeria is well represented at the largest Japan conference and a strong indication that good things are coming if national interest and priorities are properly placed.

Governor Sanwo-Olu, a trained banker, successful businessman and an excellent public administrator and Prof Zulum, a trained engineer and a Professor of Soil and Water, will surely make the TICAD7 a substantive one to the nation.

Although there is no certainty whether the resolution made in 2016 TICAD6 to support Africa with $30billion is fulfilled or not, the Africa/Japan relationship is largely seen as a prospective and benefitting one considering the position of Japan in the world’s innovative and technology market. Other areas of interest for the African development are ICT, agriculture, automobile, education and health.

China, the world largest economy, is presently in total control of the African market. But observers still believe that Africa stands a better chance of boosting its economy when a good economic tie is established with Japan. It’s obvious that the legendary quality of the Japan product cannot be denied, unlike China and other Western products. The Japanese don’t compromise quality for affordability. Their high-quality products encourage customers to pay a premium for quality. People globally see a strong guarantee on any product written on it, ‘Made in Japan’.  

The TICAD7 offered a great opportunity for the private companies in Nigeria and other African countries to establish strong relationship with their Japanese counterpart in value addition in their products and services. It is expected that the African leaders will work out modalities to extend the high-quality tech of Japan to Africa through the TICAD7.

Having known Japan’s commitment to the production of high quality products/services and on the other hand noting the flood of substandard products into our market, it is expected that the Nigerian government will create a working synergy between the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), Japanese private companies and other important stakeholders in the production environment to train its staff on criteria of attaining high level standards in our production market. 

Substandard products pose serious danger to lives and property. Many lives have been lost as a result of consumption of fake drugs and allied products in Nigeria. Other areas of interest which the Japanese high-quality tech is acknowledged globally are mobile phones, refrigerators, television sets, compressors, etc. 

The FG can bring home this huge wisdom to Nigeria by expanding our bilateral relationship and training partnership.

The TICAD7 is the best opportunity to create that formal diplomatic relationship between the two nations. Also important in stimulating a smooth economic ties and strategic cooperation with the Japanese nation is the petroleum sector, being the highest imported product to Japan and Nigeria’s biggest resource.

Though the Chinese influence cannot be easily substituted, African leaders should begin to think outside the box and be able to establish another relationship with a country that is not only attracted to their natural resources and export market but also ready to improve on their export market.

Abdulmajid Lawal, Jos