Current Development of the Relations Between Indonesia and Nigeria

?Indonesia and Nigeria have a long history of friendship and similarities. Bilateral ties between two countries were established in 1965 when the Indonesian Embassy was inaugurated in Lagos. The Nigerian Embassy in Jakarta was established in 1976.
Since the diplomatic relations established in 1965, the relations of the two countries continue to robust and flourish. Nigeria and Indonesia enjoy warm, friendly and cordial relations based on mutual respect and understanding. Both countries share common views and interest at various international fora, suc as the Non-Aligned Movement, World Trade Organization (WTO), Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and Developing Eight Countries (D8) and other international organisations.
Nigeria was the first Sub-Saharan African country that established diplomatic mission inIndonesia. Indonesia recognizes the important role played by Nigerian in Sub-Saharan region and has made Nigeria as its gate to West and Central Africa. The IndonesianEmbassy in Abuja is also accredited to Ghana, Liberia, Burkina Faso, Benin, Cameroon,Cape Verde, Republic of Congo, and Togo.
There have also been an exchange of visits at the highest level, by former President Abdurrahman Wahid who visited Nigeria in 2001 and former President Olusegun Obasanjo who visited Indonesia three times in 2001, 2005 and 2006. President Umaru Musa Yar'adua and President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono of Indonesia met in New York in 2007 and agreed to strengthen further economic relations between the two countries by increasing trade and encouraging investment. In February 2013, President of Indonesia, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono visited Abuja accompanied by 99 businessmen to strengthen trade relations, and met Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan. For the return, Nigeria`s president Goodluck Jonathan plans to visit Indonesia in November 2013.
There are similarities exist between Nigeria and Indonesia, even though they are separated far away and situated in different continent. These two great countries have abundant natural resources with enormous population. Nigeria is among the largest exporter of crude oil and Indonesia has vast forests covering many of its islands.
Nigeria is composed of more than 250 ethnic groups with more than 500 local dialects and Indonesia also has the same amount. Nigeria, not only has many ethnic groups but also have a population that embraces two major world religions namely Christianity and Islam, and Indonesia as well as such. Another similarity is that both countries were colonized by Western countries and has fought tenaciously to its independence. Nigeria gained her independence on October 1, 1960 and Indonesia proclaimed her independence on August 17, 1945. This year, Indonesia becomes 68 years and this is the time to engage deeper with its brother Nigeria. At the age of 68, Indonesian peoples have a very high interest to continue to enhance cooperation with Nigerian peoples.
Currently, the Federal Government of Nigeria is implementing Nigeria Vision 20:2020 with coordinated implementation plan which brings the Nigerian economy moves forward and Indonesian government has also initiated Master Plan for the acceleration and expansion of Indonesia Economic Development 2011-2025 (MP3EI). The two countries has the same interests to improve their economy by an acceleration program that emphasising on building the infrastructure such as road networks, bridges, seaports and airports.
In March 2007, Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) and Indonesia’s Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) signed a Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation between the two anti-corruption commissions. In the same year, President Umaru Musa Yar’adua met Indonesia’s President, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in New York and both leaders agreed to give a boost the relation of the two countries.
In 2010, Nigeria and Indonesia signed Memorandum of Understanding on Bilateral Joint Commission. This Commission has the purpose to promote relations in five keys areas of shared mutual interest and is focuses on economy, investment, trade, culture and technical cooperation that will be the basis for further engagement beyond the political and diplomatic relations and later become another frame work agreement for economic, investment and trade, cultural exchanges and technical cooperation. The Joint Commission was followed by the signing of Memorandum of Understanding on Agricultural Cooperation.
After the signing of the documents, the agriculture sector becomes our emphasis of cooperation. The Indonesian Embassy has organising some agricultural training that came to Indonesia to learn and develop their skills on agriculture and take advantages of the Indonesia’s experience on agriculture. This programme is in line with the President Goodluck Jonathan’s programme to develop Nigeria’s agriculture sector and on the end of the day, Nigeria would be able to reduce food imports and become a self-sufficient country.
Indonesia has successfully managed to diversify its economy from agricultural to manufacturing. More than 70 per cent of Indonesian economy was formerly based on
agriculture and currently reduced to only 40 per cent, even though the Indonesian Government still pays attention to agriculture. Indonesia has managed to make the
agriculture sector as a creative industry. Indonesia farmers produce cassava not as a main crop and from the cassava we have been able to process them into various kinds of snacks.
The two countries on February 2013 signed multi-billion long-term agreements on airlines and aircraft maintenance. The agreement and contracts are between Garuda Maintenance Facility Aeroasia, Indonesia, with its Nigerian counterparts, including Kabo Air, Max Air,Silverback Africa, Hak Air, and Service Air Ltd
Indonesia also has the interest to partner with Nigeria on trade and investment. Nigeria is Indonesia's second largest trade partner in Africa after South Africa, In 2011 the trade value reached US$2.09 billion accounted for 21.66 percent of Indonesia's total trade with Africa. In
2012, the bilateral trade volume between the countries hits $3.18 billion, representing an increase of 50 percent. The trade volume expected to reach $5 billion by 2015. Both countries would work together to double the trade volume by 2015. Nigeria and Indonesia will come up with strategic and implementable action plans to ensure that both countries leverage the cordial bilateral trade relationship to boost trade and increase Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). Just this February, Indonesia-Nigeria bilateral trade meeting and business luncheon was held in Abuja.
There are over 15 Indonesian companies currently operating in Nigeria such as Indorama, Indofood, Kalbe Farma and Sayap Mas Utama. Indofood for example had established
instant noodle factory in Nigeria since 1995 where Indomie has become a popular brand and have the largest instant noodles manufacturing plant in Africa. The two countries also planning a US$2.5 billion gas methanol and fertilizer plant in Nigeria with Pertamina of Indonesia and NNPC of Nigeria in collaboration with Eurochem Indonesia and Viva Methanol of Nigeria.
Indonesia’s main exports to Nigeria include oils, paper products, pharmaceuticals, automotive parts, soaps and electronic products while Nigeria exports petroleum products, cotton and leather raw materials to Indonesia. Current Indonesian Government under President Yudhoyono, Indonesia has successfully maintained economic growth at average of above six percent. In 2012, Indonesia’s economic growth reached 6.23 per cent. Nigeria also experienced high economic growth since 2010 after economic policies aimed at growth consistently applied.
This year, there are some groups of Nigerian businessmen to visit Indonesia to explore the potential of existing business in accordance with their respective business areas to further develop into a profitable venture. Many Indonesian businessmen are seeking partners in Nigeria about creative economy. Creative economy is expected to increase income through utilisation of goods that are available around us. Indonesian Government has also set up a
On 25 July 2013, in Jakarta, Indonesia and Nigeria held the Inaugural Session of the Joint Commission for Bilateral Cooperation Meting to follow up their agreement on the establishment of the commission for the cooperation between the two countries signed in New York in September 2010. The Session was preceded by a Senior Officials’ Meeting, attended by representatives of relevant Ministries and Government agencies from both countries.
The meeting led jointly by foreign minister Marty Natalegawa and his Nigerian counterpart Olugbenga Ashiru was held to discuss the follow up of bilateral commitments made during the state visit of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono on February 2-3 in this year.
Both Ministers shared their common view that given the two countries’ commonalities, such as huge economic potentials and complementarities, shared ideals and political outlooks, as well as strong sense of determination and responsibility for international causes, relations between Indonesia and Nigeria constitute partnership. The commitments include increasing the two countries` bilateral relations in various fields including politics and security, trade, investment and social-culture. In the meeting the two ministers also exchanged views on various global and regional issues. (RS/Ind.Emb.Abj)