NIGERIA-ISRAELI ECONOMIC RELATIONS- (1992-2010)
The research work examines the economic relations of Israel and Nigeria from 1992 to 2010. In order to ensure an in-depth comprehension of this relationship, in this study, Nigeria’s foreign policy towards Israel relating to foreign investment, bilateral trade, foreign Aid and diplomatic interactions, were reviewed. Undoubtedly, Nigeria’s foreign policy towards Israel was seldom subjected to referendum or public hearing to arrive at a peoples’ oriented resolution and adoption of the most domestically viable policy; rather, it was predominantly influenced by the diametrically opposed interests among the foreign policy elites along the lines of ethno-political cum religious solidarity. This approach undermined to a large extent the political relations in existence between the two countries and its consequent rupture of diplomatic ties in 1992, while in the face of severance of ties economic cooperation prevailed. To this effect, this work is set to ascertain the extent to which Israeli-Nigeria economic relation has increased the inflow of economic activities from Israel to Nigeria and also empirically examine whether the bilateral economic relation has led to increase in foreign aid from Israel to Nigeria. The researcher applied the political economy approach in the study. This is believed to be suitable as it explores the interplay between economics and politics in social existence. In the course of study, we made use of both primary and secondary data, qualitative and quantitative data. We relied heavily but not exclusively on the technique of “content analysis” to evaluate the data generated in the course of this research. In the course of analysing available data, it was ascertained that there was remarkable increase of economic activities resulting from Israel-Nigeria economic relations, and that Israel’s travails in Nigeria was rooted in the preponderance of Muslim population, and key positions in government. To this effect, it was not difficult to influence the position of Nigeria in the conflict between Israel and the Arab in the favour of the later in expression of some sort of solidarity, be it political, religious or sentimental. Furthermore, the study argues that Israel’s decision to foster strong links with the countries of Africa, particularly Nigeria, was guided by several fundamental considerations, and by far the most prominent, is political and diplomacy. On the part of Nigeria, the relation is propelled by economic interest as well as ethno-religious sentiments. Besides, Nigeria Israeli economic cooperation centers more on the agro-industrial sector. Relying on available data, the work argues that in spite of the deficits in the balance of trade (1992-2010) on the side of Nigeria, the bilateral relations improved and strengthened the economy of Nigeria. The researcher recommends that if the benefits of the bilateral relations must be sustained, Nigeria’s foreign policy elites must divorce sentiments from the objective analysis of the country’s foreign policy and relations towards Israel.