Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The Indonesian and Nigerien governments have agreed to reduce tariff barriers, in an attempt to increase trade between the two countries.

"President of Niger, Mahamadou Issoufou , and I have discussed improvements in economic cooperation, including trade, infrastructure, strategic industries, engineering, and human resources," President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) said in a joint statement after a bilateral meeting at the Merdeka Palace here on Monday.

Niger is a member of the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas).

Indonesia is currently negotiating with Ecowas to increase its trade with countries in Africa.

African countries have great potential in the economic sector, with an average of 5-6 percent economic growth.

Several large Indonesian companies, producing instant noodles and soaps, have entered the African market.

"Therefore, Indonesia has asked Nigers support to reach an agreement of economic cooperation with Ecowas," the president stated.

ECOWAS, or the Economic Community of West African States, comprises 15 states and has defined the region of West Africa since 1999.

On the occasion, the president called on Nigers entrepreneurs who will make a business deal with Indonesian businessmen to attend the Asia-Africa Forum held in Bandung in April 2018.

With regard to infrastructure cooperation, Jokowi has supported public housing development for Nigerians, which is constructed by Indonesian companies.

"In this case, PT Wijaya Karya will directly monitor the existing projects in Niger," he revealed.

The president pointed out that Indonesia will share the experience gained in strategic and technical industries with Niger.

"Indonesia will be glad to offer cooperation with Niger in agriculture, fisheries, education, small and medium enterprises, health and family planning sectors," he remarked.

The trade volume between Indonesia and Niger is still low, reaching only US$9.7 million last year. Most of these include Indonesia's crude palm oil.(*)

Editor: Heru Purwanto
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