CLOSING REMARKS ON THE OCCASION OF THE SEMINAR ON DOING BUSINESS IN ISRAEL, HELD IN LAGOS, NIGERIA ON JULY 18, 2013
Greetings!I feel humbled to be called upon to give the closing remarks on this August occasion on “Doing Business in Israel” put together by the Nigeria Israel Chamber of Commerce and Infoplus Business Information Services.
Israel has been described by one of the speakers as a mission, practical and focused with know-how, new concepts and set of skills that have transformed its economy, whereby once desert areas have been transformed into agricultural fields; and the country able to feed itself and to export! As a matter of fact, Israel’s capacity for innovation has been identified as its main strength such that insecurity and other significant adverse conditions have not fazed the citizens of this great country from digging deep into research and development. The World Economic Forum recently issued its Global Competitiveness Report for 2012-13 which indicated that Israel remains a competitive player in the international economy.I will paraphrase the works of Dan Senor and Saul Singer in their book on the ‘Start- up Nation, the story of Israel’s economic miracle’. In this book, the authors noted that Israel has something to offer that is sought by other countries, including countries that are considered on the forefront of global competitiveness. According to the authors, in addition to the institutional elements that make up clusters-which Finland, Singapore and Korea (South) already possess, what is missing in these other countries is a cultural core built in a rich stew of aggressiveness and team orientation, on isolation and connectedness, and on being small and aiming big.
The secret then of Israel’s success is the combination of some classic elements of technology clusters with some unique Israeli elements that enhance the skills and experience of individuals, make them work together more effectively as teams and provide tight and readily available connections within an established and growing community.Messrs Dan Senor and Saul Singer further noted that while innovation is scarce, it is a renewable resource. Unlike finite natural resources, ideas can spread and benefit whichever countries are best positioned to take advantage of them; regardless of where they are invented.
Imagine therefore a country as Nigeria endowed with youths with abundant energy and overflowing ideas channeled into wrong activities, most of which have brought shame and mistrust to the country. In my candid opinion, Israel serves as one country with ideas that can be deployed to implement the Transformation Agenda of the Federal Government. Countries such as India and Singapore are aware of this fact and have entered partnership with the state of Israel for scientific and technological research and development. Our NOTAP (Nigerian Office for Technological Acquisition and Promotion) should consider a high level discussion with the government of Israel through its Embassy in Nigeria to implement the technical agreement signed by both countries several years ago.It gives me joy that in this gathering, we have representatives of the Raw Materials Research and Development Council, Federal Institute of Industrial Research, Bank of Industry, Nigerian Export Promotion Council, Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission, Nigerian Association of Small Scale Industrialists, Nigerian Association of Small and Medium Enterprises, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, various state governments and members of Nigeria Israel Chamber of Commerce, I hope that we took notes.
I look forward to a day, when like Pilgrims to the Holyland, the Nigerian Government considers sending equal number of young Nigerians on study exchange to Israel. Our economic recovery journey would have been shortened.Long live the Nigeria Israel Chamber of Commerce.
NDUDI OSAKWEConsultant, INFOPLUS