Sunday, 19 November 2017

Nigeria, Germany Hold Consultations On How To Strengthen Ties

Nigeria and Germany recently held the 2017 consultation meetings on development cooperation in Abuja, which focused on implementing the SDGs and AU Agenda 2063 and align same with Nigeria’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan.
Nigeria’s delegation at the meeting was led by the Hon. Minister of State, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, while the German delegation was led by Dr Stefan Oswald, Director for Sub-Saharan Africa in Germanys Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).
The Minister of State who was represented by Director International Cooperation, Samuel Eloho, pointed out that the consultations were to further deepen co-operation between the two countries, to consider the agreement signed in 2016 and also review achievements.
In his remark, Dr Oswald noted that Nigeria is an important partner to Germany in development cooperation, and expressed appreciation for the long-standing fruitful bilateral development co-operation with Nigeria based on mutual respect and trust.
Dr Oswald disclosed that the German Marshal plan with Africa’, which is the cornerstone for a new co-operation with Africa, considers responsible governments and private sector-driven economic development as essential elements for the creation of a better future for Nigerians.
He encouraged the Nigerian government to continue to demonstrate a strong political will and uphold democratic principles, rule of law as well as create economic structures that would facilitate investments and contribute to job creation.
He explained that the German ‘Marshal Plan’ was designed to support the African Unions Agenda 2063 for promoting sustainable development on the Continent, and therefore called for concerted efforts to achieve the goals.
Dr. Oswald stated that Germany is supporting partner countries that make good progress with the implementation of the SDGs.
He cited the German bilateral support to three African Countries (Cote d voire, Ghana and Tunisia) within the framework of G20 Compact with Africa initiative as an example of such enhanced support related to willingness to reform.
While noting Nigeria’s serious economic challenges, mainly due to the global decline in oil price and reduction in production output, Dr Oswald, commended Nigeria’s reform initiatives to overcome the challenges through economic diversification and stabilization of the macro-economic environment amongst others.
The head of the German delegation also expressed delight that Nigeria’s economy has been trending upwards since the second quarter of 2017, indicating the emergence of the economy from recession after five consecutive quarters of negative growth is a positive trend which is not only important to Nigeria but also the African Region.
The dialogue meeting on the priority areas of bilateral development cooperation and commitments covers the overall financial commitment which approximately amounts to £620 million since it began in 1960.
Other key areas are Pro-poor Growth and Employment Promotion programme in Nigeria. This programme presently operates in Niger, Ogun and Plateau states. Also, Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) through the German Vocational Education Project aimed at improving job and income opportunities; and a microfinance programme which is a combination of equity participation, subordinated loans and grants for technical assistance.
The federal government implementing agencies that attended the meeting are: Ministry of Labour and Employment, National Directorate of Employment, Federal Ministries of Agriculture; Industry, Trade & Investment; Education; Finance; Power, Works and Housing and Foreign Affairs. Others include CBN, Health, and the National Primary Health Care Development Agency.
The priority sectors of the development cooperation with Germany, cover energy, peace and security, public health and regional programmes.

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