The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has awarded fully funded scholarships to 39 Nigerian youths with an opportunity to work in Japanese companies and use the expertise to develop Nigeria.
Japanese Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr Matsunaga Kazuyoshi hinted this on Thursday in Abuja during the sendforth of the beneficiaries.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that 39 students would be benefitting from three different programmes, including Africa Business Education Initiative and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Global Leader Programme.
The third programme is on Partnership for Building Resilience against Public Health Emergencies through Advanced Research and Education (PREPARE).
Kazuyoshi stated that the initiative would strengthen the Japanese-Nigerian universities, and foster development in Nigeria across all sectors.
He said that the trade volume between Japan and Nigeria is nearly $1billlion annually, adding that he’s excited to see more Japanese companies doing business in Nigeria.
The envoy stated its commitment in investing and collaborating with other governments and UN agencies to assist in the development of Nigeria.
According to him, “We have many Japanese companies with many technologies but the problem is that they do not know very much about Nigeria because the media informed on how Boko haram and people kidnapped were released.”
“But when I was posted to Nigeria, I saw the big potential in Nigeria, so my role is to promote more to know that Nigeria is attractive and let Japanese companies know more opportunities and come to Nigeria.”
“Today, we will sendforth 39 very talented Nigerian youths, I really expect them to be good ambassadors, to promote and strengthen Nigeria, Japanese relationship”, he added.
Also speaking, JICA’s country representative to Nigeria, Mr Yuzurio Susumu said that the initiative would help to extend development beyond the public sector to the private sector, which plays a critical role in the development of every nation.
“This initiative is very important for African countries not only to develop the public sector but also the private sector, but the important thing is how to collaborate with domestic and international companies that have expertise towards the Nigerian companies.”
”During the programme, they will have enormous opportunities to work with Japanese companies, and exchange networks, and bring them to Nigeria. So it has very significant impact in Nigeria’s development,” Susumu said.
On his part, the Director-General, Centre for Management Development (CMD), Mr Bitrus Chinoko thanked the government of Japan for the opportunity given to Nigerian youths to learn from Japan and transfer the expertise to Nigeria.
Chinoko, who was represented by a Director in the centre, Mrs Dorothy Esiri stated that the programme was an investment of knowledge to the country.
“Each of these participants will come back to Nigeria and impact in the different sectors of research which they will be carrying on while in Japanese universities.
“We cannot appreciate the government of Japan enough for this gesture”, Chinoko said.
The President of KAKEHASHI Africa Nigeria Initiative (KANI), Mr Aliyu Bawalle co-organisers of the event and ex-beneficiary of the programme said they were excited at the growth of the programme in Nigeria.
Bawalle stated that the programme, which is in its 9th edition recorded an increase with 39 beneficiaries this year, being the highest since its inception.
“We are ex-beneficiaries of the programme and the role we are playing is to facilitate the process of recruitment of Nigerians to also benefit from the programme.”
“This year, we have the highest number ever, 39, and I know that our role played a significant increase to that, we were 22 in 2016.”
“The expectation is for them to be good ambassadors and representatives of Nigeria in Japan, and the second expectation is for them to go and learn the skills, knowledge, competence and attitude they can bring back to Nigeria”, Bawalle added.
— Chika Okeke is a journalist with MOC and the Publisher/ Editor of Bennyokeke.blogspot.com, an online news platform.
She joined the services of LEADERSHIP Media Group in 2008 as a Reporter where she rose through the ranks as a Senior Reporter to Deputy Editor Daily, Deputy Editor, LEADERSHIP Sunday and Deputy Editor, LEADERSHIP Friday.
During her sojourn in LEADERSHIP Media Group, she had covered the activities of FCT Area Councils, Ministries of Tourism and National Orientation, Works & Housing and Environment.
With over one decade in journalism, she was able to explore various reporting and writing techniques such as feature writing, editing, investigation and editing, with over over 300 publications to her credit.
She has covered workshops and conferences, both in Nigeria and abroad.
She is currently the Treasurer, Environment Media Correspondents Association of Nigeria (EMCAN) and a member of Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ).