New Year Message from Ambassador MATSUNAGA Kazuyoshi
Happy New Year to you all !
I am MATSUNAGA Kazuyoshi, Ambassador of Japan to Nigeria.
It has already been more than a year and a half since I assumed my post in May 2021. During this period, I have been working to build bridges between our two countries in various fields, including development cooperation, economy and sports exchange.
In August 2022, the 8th Tokyo International Conference on African Development, TICAD 8, was held in Tunisia, setting out the guiding principles for 'a partner growing together with Africa'. In the future, Japan and Nigeria will increasingly strengthen their political, economic and cultural ties as 'partners growing together'.
In the economic field, the 2nd Japan-Nigeria Business Facilitation Council was held in August before TICAD 8, and an agreement was reached with the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission, which co-chaired the meeting, to further strengthen cooperation to resolve business issues between the two countries.
In addition, at the TICAD 8 side event 'Japan-Africa Business Forum' organised by Japan External Trade Office, JETRO, Japanese companies signed several Memorandums of Understanding with Nigerian companies and held discussions on business promotion with the Nigerian government delegation. An increasing number of Japanese companies have begun to consider expanding into Nigeria and new developments in Japan-Nigeria business are expected.
【Japan's support for Nigeria in 2022】
Last year, as part of the NINJA (Next Innovation with Japan) Accelerator Programme in Nigeria organized by the Japan International Cooperation Agency, JICA, the African Emerging Tech Nigeria Pitch Finals were held by six start-up entrepreneurs. We feel that this kind of entrepreneurship development and support for start-ups is a starting point for creating jobs and solving social issues through business.
Other assistance provided by Japan includes the provision of road maintenance equipment in the area of infrastructure development, and in the area of medical care the provision of corona vaccines and solar-powered refrigerators through COVAX. In the area of environment and marine resource conservation, Japan initiated a project through UNIDO to strengthen the plastic resource recycling system and contribute to the reduction of plastic waste. In the area of food security, 3 million USD in emergency food aid assistance was provided through WFP to citizens affected by the crisis in Ukraine.
On the security front, we provided high-speed security vessels to contribute to maritime security in the Gulf of Guinea, and provided assistance to the north-east through international organisations such as UNDP. In particular, on UNDP matters, the Governors from the north-eastern states of Borno and Yobe, and a senior government official from Adamawa State, visited Hiroshima Prefecture, making it a memorable year for learning about post-war reconstruction and security stabilisation.
Also, Nigeria's introduction of 5G and approval of the satellite communications 'Starlink' were major advances in the telecommunications sector. We believe that Japan can support Nigeria's development in new areas such as telecommunications and Digital Transformation by making use of its inherent high technological capabilities.
In 2022, some Nigerian athletes who are active in karate, judo, football and baseball were given sports equipment donated by Japanese sports organisations. In addition, the 1st Japanese Ambassador’s Karate Tournament was held in Abuja. We will continue to support the young people who have learnt about Japanese culture and code of conduct through sports, believing that they will become bridges between Japan and Nigeria in the future and be a driving force for Nigeria's development.
【Towards a new year】
In this year 2023, it is globally known that Nigeria will be having a major transition in governance which will happen with a successful general election. As the world keeps a watch on the outcome of the election, it is my wish that all will go well, especially the presidential election, for the interest of the Nigerian state, Japan and the rest of the world. Also, I lend my voice to the forthcoming census in Nigeria, that too will contribute to nation building.
Finally, I would like to conclude my New Year's greetings by wishing Japan and Nigeria all the very best for the new year ahead.
I look forward to working with you again in the New Year.
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan
to the Federal Republic of Nigeria