Indonesia, Niger Sign Two MoUs
President Joko Jokowi Widodo considered that the visit of Nigers President Issoufou Mahamadou to Indonesia is a very historical one. This is because President Issoufou is the first Niger President to visit Indonesia, after the two countries established diplomatic ties six years ago. “As [we are] two Muslim-majority countries, President Issoufou’s visit is important in our collective efforts to promote tolerant and moderate Islam which is rahmatan lil ‘alamin (blessing for the universe) and cooperation to promote Muslims both in Islamic cooperation organization and bilateral cooperation,” President Jokowi said in a press statement with Niger President Issoufou Mahamadou, at the Presidential Palace, Jakarta, Monday (16/10) afternoon.
The President asserted that Africa is one of Indonesia’s foreign policy priorities. To that end, the President considered that the intensity of cooperation with Niger becomes very important.
According to the President, he and President Issoufou have discussed efforts to increase cooperation in economy, namely cooperation in the fields of infrastructure, strategic industries, energy, engineering, and human resources. “In infrastructure, I support the development plan of Public Housing for people in Nigeria, in this case, state-owned construction company PT WIKA will see directly the potential of existing projects in Niger,” the President said.
In addition, the two Heads of Government agreed to begin discussions in the strategic and energy industries. Regarding technical cooperation, according to the President, Indonesia has an experience that can be shared with Niger. “For that, Indonesia is pleased to offer technical cooperation, among others, in the fields of agriculture, fisheries, education, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) , health and family planning,” President Jokowi explained.
In trade, President Jokowi and President Issoufou agreed to take steps to reduce tariff and non-tariff barriers. The President explained that Niger is a member of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). To that end, Indonesia also requested Nigers support in the negotiations with the organization for a Preferential Trade Agreement. “I invite Niger entrepreneurs who will make a business deal with Indonesia to attend the Indonesia-Africa Forum event in Bali in April 2018,” President Jokowi said.
On that occasion, two Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) were signed in the fields of visa exemption for bearers of diplomatic and official passports as well as the establishment of a joint commission meeting. “I express my appreciation to His Excellency President Issoufou for the support of Niger for the candidacy of Indonesia for non-permanent membership of the UN Security Council for 2019-2020,” President Jokowi concluded.
Also present in the event were Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi, Minister of State Secretary Pratikno, Cabinet Secretary Pramono Anung, Minister of Trade Enggartiasto Lukita, and Minister of Public Works and Public Housing Basuki Hadimuljono. (DND/RAH/ES) (MUR/YM/Naster).