Israel-Nigeria Relations

Bilateral Relations

    Israel and Nigeria share a history of close economic and commercial ties, which have proven throughout the years to be solid and to prevail over political crises. Today, many Israeli companies operate in Nigeria in the fields of construction, infrastructure, Hi-tech, communications and IT, agriculture, water management and other sectors. The trade between the two countries is on the rise, while joint efforts by the Governments of the two countries aim to ensure the ongoing expansion of these mutually beneficial economic relations.
    The dynamic economic relations include bilateral consultations and discussions between the two governments; mutual visits of business delegations; participation in International Exhibitions and other commercial events in both countries; and various activities to promote trade and commerce, carried out by the Israeli Export and International Cooperation Institute, the Nigerian-Israeli Chamber of Commerce (NICC), the Israel-Africa Chamber of Commerce and other institutions.​
  • Recent Developments

    Nigerian high-level delegations are frequently visiting Israel to participate in various events and exhibitions, seeking new opportunities to strengthen the economic and commercial ties between the two countries. Recent delegations include:
    • May 2006 – An official Nigerian delegation to the International Agricultural Exhibition, "Agritech 2006", led by former Nigerian Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mallam Adamu Bello.
    • November 2006 – An official Nigerian delegation to the international telecommunication exhibition “Telecom Israel 2006”, led by former Nigerian Minister of Communications, Chief Cornelius Adebayo.
    • November 2006 – An official Nigerian delegation to the United Nation’s International Conference on Combating Desertification and to the Prime Minister's Conference for Export and International Cooperation, led by former Nigerian Minister of Environment, Chief (Mrs.) Helen Esuene.
    These events offer unique opportunities for companies and investors from both countries to interact and investigate business opportunities in some of the most important sectors for both Israel and Nigeria.
    In 2006 a Nigerian-Israeli Business Forum was inaugurated in Abuja. Members of the Forum are drawn from notable Nigerian public and private establishments, who have participated in various programmes and business delegations in Israel.

  • Current Trends

    More than 50 major Israeli companies operate today in Nigeria through joint ventures, mainly in the fields of construction and infrastructure, Hi-tech, communications and IT, agriculture and water management. These companies employ hundreds of workers and are playing a major role in the dynamic Nigerian economy.
    Major Israeli companies that operate in Nigeria (mostly through subsidiaries and corporations) include: Solel Boneh International Group, Gadish Group Engineering & Management, Ashtrom Group Ltd., Motorola Israel Ltd., Housing & Construction Holding Company Ltd. and TAHAL Group.
    Israel and Nigeria have witnessed in recent years a remarkable increase in their mutual trade. Most of this trade is composed of Nigerian import of Israeli goods, as Israel does not import directly from Nigeria Oil & Gas products, which are Nigeria's main exports.​
  • The Early Years

    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.
  • 1973-1992: the Severing of Diplomatic Relations

    In the aftermath of the Yom Kippur War in 1973, followed by the global oil crisis, most of the Sub-Saharan countries severed diplomatic ties with Israel, due to two prime factors: promises of cheap oil and financial aid and compliance with the OAU (Organization of African Unity) resolution, sponsored by Arab countries, calling for the severing of relations with Israel. Nigeria was among these countries, and consequently, official cooperation and development projects between Nigeria and Israel were strangled.
    Diplomatic relations were finally restored in September 1992.
    In April 1992, Nigeria opened an Embassy in Israel for the first time.
    In 2006, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), which formalized the bilateral consultations on political issues between the two countries, was signed by the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of both countries.
    Commercial ties did, however, continue to some extent. Nigerian students participated in training courses in Israel; and Israeli consultants and experts were active throughout the country.
  • Restoring the Cordial Relations

    Diplomatic relations were finally restored in September 1992, and in April 1993 a Nigerian Embassy was opened in Israel for the first time.
    Israeli-Nigerian relations have since become warm and firm, as expressed in reciprocal visits by high-level government officials and the intensive exchange of technical and professional knowledge through MASHAV (the Israeli Centre for International Cooperation) programmes. Economic and commercial relations between the countries are also thriving, as more and more Israeli companies from various sectors are attracted to invest in Nigeria.
    In 2006 the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of both countries signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), which formalized the bilateral consultations on political issues between the two countries. Under the initiative, Israel and Nigeria agreed to consult on issues of bilateral relations and other regional and international issues of mutual interest, as well as to exchange view on matters of mutual concerns.
    A first round of bilateral consultations under the agreement was held in Jerusalem in November 2006.
    The strengthening of political and economic ties coincides with the tightening relations between the peoples of Israel and Nigeria at all levels. The constant increase in the number of Nigerians who visit Israel yearly for Pilgrimage, business and tourism contributes immensely to these developing relations. Both governments encourage their nationals to enjoy the good relations between the countries and are working together to expand the beneficial interactions between Israelis and Nigerians.​


    -  Nigerian visit to Israel is on the increase in the past few years for instance
    - In 2010, about 31,570 Nigerian tourists visited  Israel
    -  As at Dec 2011 there has been upsurge of Tourist visits to 50,620 (60% increase from 2010)
    Currently the two Governments have made progress in the following areas:
    - Bilateral Trade agreement signed in 2009 (Awaiting Ratification by Nigeria)
    - Bilateral Air Service Agreement was signed in August 2005 awaiting ratification
    - Various private sector led cooperation projects with State Governments.
    - Training of Ex-Militants under the Amnesty program in Aquaculture and Rice milling
    Nigeria is top 20 importers of Israel goods about 231.1Euros (approximately $300.4m)