Thu | Jan 23, 2020

Professor wants more cooperation between Jamaica and Nigeria

Published:Wednesday | August 8, 2018 | 12:12 AMRuddy Mathison/Gleaner Writer
Vice president of the Caribbean Maritime Institute Professor Ibrahim Ajagunna.

With the reconnection to Africa being the overarching theme at the 11th staging of Emancifest, the biggest Emancipation celebration in St Catherine, vice-president of the Caribbean Maritime University, Professor Ibrahim Ajagunna, has called for a strengthening of the relationship between Jamaica and Nigeria.

"Jamaica and Nigeria have long enjoyed (a) close bond and healthy relationship. We need to strengthen this relationship," said Ajagunna, who was speaking on August 1 at the closing ceremony of the Emancifest Emancipation Day celebrations held at the Sligoville stadium in St Catherine

He cited cooperation in tourism and educational opportunities as ways Jamaicans could reconnect with Africa, pointing out that the Nigerian national airline will take to the sky soon and both countries should explore the possibilities of having weekly flights from Abuja or Lagos to Jamaica.

"Tourism is Jamaica's biggest business and Nigerians are one of the most travelled individuals in the world. Jamaica needs to open the door to the African people to come here and holiday and go to school," Ajagunna stated.

"The Nigerians are high spenders, he continued, "and trust me, they will make significant contribution to our local economy."


Clear demand


"I am talking about Nigerians with real money and who are yet to discover Jamaica as the best destination in the world to holiday. Most Nigerians, when they visit, will stay in local communities and homes, villas, small hotel properties and eat authentic Jamaican food, and by so doing, contribute to local economies."

This, according to Ajagunna, is in contrast to the all-inclusive hotels in which 50 per cent of the money spent by visitors follow them back home. "We are talking about money that will remain in Jamaica."

He said the Caribbean Maritime University (the most celebrated university now in the Caribbean), is in deep talks with three universities in Nigeria to form alliances for students, faculty and curriculum exchanges in the areas of maritime engineering and security.

Citing statistics showing that by 2050 Nigeria will be among five African countries in the world's largest economies, Ajagunna called for revitalisation of the technical aid exchange between the two countries.