Both Jamaica and Nigeria are seeking to strengthen their relationship, through trade, air services and culture.
Newly appointed Nigerian High Commissioner to Jamaica, Janet Omoleegho Olisa, told JIS News that the two countries are finalizing a bilateral agreement.
“What we have started is a bilateral agreement. We have one which is just general so we are trying to fine-tune it and to find what is really important for both countries. We are hoping that by the end of the year, we will have a joint bilateral commission meeting,” she said.
She noted that Nigeria and Jamaica are also working on an air service agreement to improve air linkages between the two countries so that commercial carriers can operate.
The High Commissioner said that emphasis will be placed on improving trade between the two countries, noting that “not much is happening in that area.”
“What I am really interested in is the direct trade between Jamaica and Nigeria,” she added, noting that Jamaican rum and wine, which come from other countries, are in the Nigerian market.
She said that one of the main concerns from the business community is transportation between Jamaica and Nigeria.
“It is not that far if you have a direct flight, but we don’t have a direct flight. Nigeria doesn’t have a carrier. The bilateral service agreement will enable private airline companies to operate,” she pointed out.
The Commissioner said she has held several meetings with Government Ministers, heads of agencies, as well as representatives of the private sector over the past months to explore opportunities for greater trade and business linkages between the two countries.
Meetings were also held with representatives of Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO), Jamaica Chamber of Commerce and the Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
“We are trying to find out how we can work together and to get the ball rolling,” the High Commissioner said.
Additionally, she said there are plans to strengthen the cultural ties with Jamaica, noting that Nigeria has an estimated population of 170 million people, 285 tribes and over 500 distinct languages.
“I have been working with a lot of schools. We have been getting so many requests from schools,” she said, adding that members of the High Commission have been giving talks on Nigeria’s culture and showcasing its artefacts.
The High Commissioner presented her Letters of Credence to the Governor- General Sir Patrick L Allen, on September 18.
Jamaica and Nigeria established diplomatic ties on April 29, 1970.