Nigeria Recognizes, Appreciates Indonesia`s Giant Strides: Ambassador

Jakarta  (Antara News) - Nigeria recognizes and appreciates the giant strides made by Indonesia and is pleased that it is a fellow member of the MINT Group which will be among the economic giants of the future, Nigerian Ambassador to Indonesia Muhammad L. Sulaiman said.

"But having achieved strong political relations, Nigeria and Indonesia are now concentrating on the economic and trade sectors," he said here Tuesday.

Ambassador Sulaiman made the remarks when he met members of the Indonesian Muslim Journalists Association (PJMI) and university students in relation with the Ramadhan Dialogue Series with some African ambassadors to Indonesia.

The series are held by PJMI in collaboration with the Center for Southeast Asian Studies (CSEAS) Indonesia, State Islamic University of Syarif Hidayatulloh.

Ms Dewi Kejora from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, DR. Arisman, Director Executive of CSEAS, and Mohammad Anthoni, the chairman of PJMI also attended the dialogue titled "Current Economic and Social Development in Africa".

Nigeria and Indonesia have been enjoying cordial relations since 1965 when Indonesia established its diplomatic mission in Lagos and Nigeria reciprocated by opening its embassy in Jakarta in 1976.

The two countries have also been cooperating both at bilateral and multilateral levels and supporting each others nominations at positions at various international organizations. In addition to their membership of United Nations, Nigeria and Indonesia are members of the D-8, Organization of Islamic Cooperation and MINT (Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria and Turkey).

"The prospect for economic and trade relations between Nigeria and Indonesia is very good especially since the two countries have the commitment, zeal and determination to make it so," he said.

The volume of trade between the two countries increased from US$2.09 billion in 2011 to US$3.18 billion in 2012.

Indonesia is the largest economy in Southeast Asia and one of the emerging market economies of the world. The country is also a member of G-20 major economies and classified as a newly industrialized country. As a result of the boost in its economy, Indonesia has been exploring other regions in the world to invest. Africa and Nigeria in particular is one of those places.

Nigerias economy has been growing more than 6 percent and is the 26th largest in the world. After the recent re-basing of its GDP, Nigeria currently has the largest GDP of about $510 billion in Africa.

Ambassador Sulaiman said Nigeria is the gateway to West Africa and its capital, Abuja, is host of the sub-regions organization, the Economic Community of West Africa (ECOWAS).

Being the gateway to West Africa, companies operating in Nigeria have the benefit of expanding their businesses and reaching their customers to the whole West Africa and beyond, he said.

Investment from Indonesia

"It is therefore not surprising that Nigeria has become a destination for investment from Indonesia, with around 11 local firms like Indorama, Indofood, Wings, Mensa Group, Tolarama and Kalbe," he added.

They have invested in the food and beverage, petrochemicals, pharmaceuticals, detergent and soap.

"It is interesting to note that the largest Indomie factory in the world is located in Nigeria, not in Indonesia where it originated from," Ambassador Sulaiman said.

"In fact, Indomie is so popular in Nigeria that is gradually replacing our local food."

According to him, the largest Indomie factory is located in Nigeria is a testimony to the positive prospect for Indonesia-Nigeria economic and trade relations.

Although there is no Nigerian company currently operating in Indonesia, some of its airlines namely Max Air, Kabo Air, Hak Air and Silverback Africa have been servicing their aircrafts in Indonesia under maintenance agreement with Garuda.

"The fact that Garuda services some of our aircrafts is a testimony to the confidence Nigeria has in its professional capacity, for it is not everyone you will allow to service your aircraft because of the risks involved," he said.

He further said that as leading economies in their continents, Nigeria and Indonesia are expected to play a leading role in seeking solutions to the economic challenges of their sub-regions and continents.

"Our two countries therefore need to work together and complement each other, to push an agenda which puts bilateral as well as regional integration and infrastructural development at the forefront," he said.

"The embassy will continue to encourage the Nigerian private sector to invest in the Indonesian market and vice versa in order to promote bilateral and inter-continental trade. We have put in place measures in support of trade by Indonesian companies wishing to export their products to Nigeria." (*)