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Nigeria/Israel annual bilateral trade hits $250m – Envoy

BILATERAL trade volume between Israel and Nigeria stands at between $200 million and $250 million yearly, Michael Freeman, Ambassador of Israel to Nigeria has said.

Freeman, also Permanent Representative of Israel to ECOWAS, disclosed this to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday, promising to deepen trade cooperation between both countries.

“It often changes due to COVID-19 and I see no reason why trade between both countries will not be reaching four times that within a very short period.

“There is a lot we need to do to increase trade volume and that is my target; Israel and UAE established diplomatic relations in the past two to three years.

“Within that timeframe, we have got from zero trade to close to $2billion worth of trade in a couple of years. Israel has a population of 9 million people, as well as the UAE too.

“Meanwhile, in Nigeria, there is a population of approximately 200 million people, we think about the potential of what the trade will be if we work together.”

He explained that the trade cooperation could be strengthened bilaterally, saying there were many things Israel could buy from Nigeria and vice versa, in the bid to increase the trade volume.

According to Freeman, it may not just be based on trade, but also on the provision of jobs in Nigeria and improvement in the lives of the citizenry.

“We will work closely with the Nigerian government to boost partnership in ensuring the safety of Nigerians on pilgrimage to Israel.

“We welcome all Nigerian tourists and we want Nigerians to come to Israel and return to tell compatriots about their experiences in the Holy Land.”

The envoy also reassured of the country’s plan to work closely with Nigeria and Africa at large, in the area of sustainable security.

“Recently, Prime Minister Netanyahu at a forum, said Africa was a priority, be it East, West, Central or South Africa, particularly Nigeria, which has lots of opportunities to work together with Israel.

“We are looking to establish diplomatic relations with countries we do not have ties with yet; we will like to establish diplomatic relations and share expertise with those countries.

“Africa is the future and Israel too is the future, so together we have the potential to do amazing things for our people; Israel is willing to work with Nigeria on security.

“We are willing to partner Nigeria on basis of reaslising what Nigerians need; we have significant experience in homeland security, yet continue to face terrorism challenges, these are things Nigerians are aware of and have experienced.

“We are also willing to share our knowledge and expertise with the Nigeria government, the way it would like to work,” he said. (NAN)

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