Israel’s ties with Nigeria - the most populated country in Africa - date from the late 1950s, since the early days of its pre-independence period. After Nigerian independence in 1960, full diplomatic relations were established between the two countries. These ties were an expression of the affinity with Israel, itself a young state that had achieved independence in 1948 and was eager to share its experience and expertise with the newly independent African state.
During the 1960s and early 1970s, Israel played a unique and significant role in the development of Sub-Saharan Africa, including Nigeria. As part of the Israeli government's African policy, designed by Foreign Minister Golda Meir (who later became Israel's Prime Minister), hundreds of Israeli experts and volunteers were sent to help in the continent's development and modernization of agriculture, educational network, medical institutions and technological training programmes. Hundreds of Nigerian farmers, experts, educators, academicians, students, doctors, community workers and engineers were trained in Israel. Top level ministerial meetings of both countries were held and friendly relations, beneficial to both peoples, were developed.
Mutually beneficial economic ties were also developed, including many joint ventures. Major Israeli companies and private entrepreneurs became involved in Nigeria's development and had a share in many of Nigeria's most significant national projects.