Nigeria and Germany on Friday signed a number of bilateral agreements on commerce and agriculture as part of the visit of the German Chancellor, Mrs. Angela Merkel, to Nigeria.
The chancellor’s visit is a continuation of her tour of three African nations–Senegal, Ghana and Nigeria–to rekindle cooperation and strengthen ties between Africa and Germany.
The first agreement was signed between the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA) and the German-Africa Business Association.
The first deputy national president of NACCIMA, Hajiya Saratu Iya-Abubakar, signed on behalf of Nigeria, while Dr. Stefan Liebing of German Africa Business Association, signed on behalf of the German business delegation.
The second agreement was signed between the Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL) and the PETKUS Technologie GmbH, a company that specialises in post-harvest agricultural value chain.
The managing director of NIRSAL, Mr. Aliyu Abdulhameed, signed on behalf of Nigeria while the representative of PETKUS Technologie GmbH, Peter Huser, signed for Germany.
Speaking after signing the memoranda of understanding in Abuja, the minister of industry, trade and investment, Mr. Okechukwu Enelamah, said the agreements would increase the collaboration between Nigeria and Germany in the two areas.
He said the agreements will also leverage small and medium enterprises in Nigeria.
“We want our small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to learn from the German experience. The other areas of German excellence are the technical area: technical education, technical training and technical development. It’s also an area of great interest to Nigeria.
“We are also working with Germany in the automobile sector because that is also an area where Germany is a leader and Nigeria clearly has a policy to be a leader in the auto sector in West Africa and Africa,” he said.
Enelamah also said all the agreements would require high levels of engagement, collaboration and communication to be actualised.
Also speaking, Abdulhameed said the MOU signed between NIRSAL and PETKUS was borne out of the realisation of the available opportunities for investments in the Nigerian agricultural sector.
“Under the current administration and the present agricultural promotion policy of this government, there are ample opportunities for investors in terms of technology and capital, to come to Nigeria and to invest in the agricultural sector. According to Abdulhameed, NIRSAL provides for the risk environment and mechanisms to enable investors like PETKUS to come to Nigeria and do their business. He noted that the agreement would go a long way in reducing the 51.3-tonne of aggregate food production, equivalent of about nine billion dollars which the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) report says Nigeria loses annually,” he said.
He expressed optimism that PETKUS, which specialises in post-harvest segment of the agricultural value chain, would bring its expertise to bear on post-harvest productions in Nigeria.
In his remarks, Huser said the interest of his company was to help small farmers boost their yield.
“We are not talking about big investments. We are talking about smallholder farmers, where we like to help them to boost their yield, to get better yield. “We are talking about plant production. We are talking about fertilization,” said Huser.
He expressed the hope that each machine supplied by PETKUS Technologie would provide employment and improve income for five people and their families.