The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has awarded fully funded scholarships to 39 Nigerian youths with an opportunity to work in Japanese companies and bring in the expertise to develop Nigeria.
Mr Matsunaga Kazuyoshi, the Japanese Ambassador to Nigeria, and Mr Yuzurio Susumu, JICA’s country representative to Nigeria, disclosed this on Thursday in Abuja during the sendforth of the beneficiaries.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the 39 students would be benefitting from three different programmes, including Africa Business Education Initiative and SDGs Global Leader Programme.
The third programme is on Partnership for Building Resilience against Public Health Emergencies through Advanced Research and Education (PREPARE).
Matsunaga said that the initiative seek to strengthen the Japanese-Nigerian universities and to foster Nigeria’s development across all sectors.
“Japan and Nigeria have trade volume annually of nearly 1 billion US dollars, however I feel more potentially to have more Japanese companies coming here.
“To invest and collaborate with other governments and also UN agencies to assist Nigeria to develop more.
“We have many Japanese companies with many technologies but the problem is that they do not know very much about Nigeria because the news media just release Boko Haram and how many people are kidnapped.
“But when I was posted to Nigeria, I see 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 to come to Nigeria.
“Today we will send 39 very talented Nigerian youths, I really expect them to be good Ambassadors, to promote and to strengthen Nigeria, Japanese relationship,” Matsunaga said.
On his part, Yuzurio said that the initiative seek 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, not only the public sector but also the private sector.
“The important thing is how to collaborate with domestic and international companies which have expertise towards the Nigerian companies.
” At the programme, they have enormous opportunities to work with Japanese companies, and exchange networks, and bring them to Nigeria and work with them. So it has very significant impact in Nigeria’s development,” Yuzurio said.
Mr Bitrus Chinoko, the Director-General, Centre for Management Development (CMD), appreciated the government of Japan for the opportunity given to Nigerian youths to learn from Japan to come back to impact positively in Nigeria.
Chinoko, who was represented by Mrs Dorothy Esiri, a Director in the centre, said the programme was an investment of knowledge to the country.
“This time around, it is being a huge number of participants which is a very huge investment in knowledge and education.
“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 represented here by the Japanese Ambassador and the Country representative of JICA,” Chinoko said.
Mr Aliyu Bawalle, the President, KAKEHASHI Africa Nigeria Initiative (KANI), co-organisers of the event and ex beneficiary of the programme, said they were excited at the growth of the programme in Nigeria.
Bawalle said that the programme, which is in its 9th edition, has seen an increase with 39 beneficiaries this year which is 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 a 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.
“And I am sure the knowledge they will go to learn will be very much needed in our economy appreciation to the government,” Bawalle said.