By Cecilia Ologunagba
Abuja – Nigeria together with some African countries would seek to improve trade and investment ties with German at Germany-Africa Business Forum slated to hold at Frankfurt on March 23.
This is contained in a statement posted on the Germany-Africa Business Forum website and accessed by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Thursday.
The statement said that the Nigeria’s Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr Okechuckwu Enelamah, would be attending the forum.
“There is already a strong foundation of trade relations between Nigeria and Germany and an even stronger rationale to expand upon them.
“Nigeria is Africa’s largest economy, one of its most stable democracies and boast of a business-friendly climate.
“It is whether in construction, manufacturing or technology, German companies carry a legacy of innovation and know-how that can deliver tremendous value for both sides,” the statement quoted Enelamah, as saying.
According to the statement, Africa is a priority for the German Government in 2017 as it holds G-20 presidency.
“There is much consensus for building trade relations; Africa is world’s fastest growing region and German companies need to find new markets.
“This year, Germany will host the first ever privately held event exclusively dedicated to strengthening trade and investment ties between Germany and the African continent.
“It will capitalise on a wave of interest taken by the German government and companies to increase their engagement with African countries.’’
Last October, the statement stated that German Chancellor made a three-day visit to Mali, Niger and Ethiopia, vowing that Africa would be a major focal point of its G-20 presidency, which began in December, 2016.
It stated that even with annual trade with Africa of 60 billion dollars, Germany had lagged behind other countries that had done more to seize trade opportunities.
“The Germany-Africa Business Forum will seek to familiarise German companies with the continent and diversify their investment base.
“Out of more than 10 billion dollars in German investments on the continent each year, 90 per cent is with just three countries – South Africa, Nigeria and Algeria.’’
According to the statement, there is a consensus that Africa remains ripe for German investment, from small-startups to industrial giants spanning the economic spectrum.
“German Mittelstand companies are already showing an interest in places where their skills and technology can bring value.
“Germany shows a strong need to expand to new markets, with companies doing just two per cent of their business in Africa.’’
In addition, the statement said that the time to strengthen German-African trade and investment connections had never been greater.
It stated that six of the world’s 10 fastest growing economies are in Africa and the continent is projected to be the world’s fastest growing region until 2040.
NAN reports that the Germany-Africa Business Forum (GABF) seeks to “bridge the gap” by facilitating dialogue, business dealings and dynamic commercial and political interchange.
The GABF brings together Africa’s foremost executives with German companies, policymakers and innovations with the aim of driving change.
It draws together African Business, political and society leaders with Germany’s pre-eminent companies and dynamic commercial and political interchange.