*VP cites FG, Germany, Siemens power initiative as model

In dealing with the disruptions caused by COVID-19 on economies and livelihoods, stronger international cooperation and collaboration among countries will be crucial in addressing the situation and expediting economic recovery, according to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN.

Prof. Osinbajo stated this on Monday at the 8th German-Nigerian Business Forum which held virtually. The event featured presentations by representatives of the German and Nigerian business communities.

Emphasizing the importance of building stronger collaboration and cooperation post COVID-19, the Vice President said “as it turned out, the pandemic is no respecter of borders, and has forced us to ponder on the importance of collaboration and international cooperation in solving some of our most pressing problems”.

According to him, “2020 will probably go down as perhaps the most challenging year in recent global history. No one can be blamed for the circumstances that led to it. However, history will hold us responsible as individual nations and collectively if we do not see and seize the immense opportunities that the moment presents.

“Bilateral cooperation is a major plank of that effort. We must use the German Nigeria forum to snatch growth and prosperity for our countries from the jaws of the pandemic.”

Speaking specifically about the German-Nigerian business cooperation, the Vice President said “there are several reasons why Nigeria and Germany’s economic relationship is an important and natural one.”

“With its population of nearly 200 million people and as the largest economy in Africa, Nigeria is a natural partner of Germany, which is also the largest economy in the European Union and also its most populous country.  Both countries have a shared experience of paving the way in their respective continents and serve as strategic entry points for investors across industries,” he added.

Prof. Osinbajo noted that “cooperation between our countries and between sectors, is now more important than ever and this forum is an essential platform for deliberating on the mutually beneficial ways that we can achieve our shared objectives as nations. And we already have an excellent example the Presidential Power Initiative (PPI), a power infrastructure upgrade and modernisation programme, agreed to by the Nigerian government and Siemens AG of Germany, with the support of the German Government.”

“Under the initiative, the Nigerian government will on behalf of the other shareholders in the DisCos invest in infrastructure upgrades in the form of improved payment systems, distribution substations, transformers, protection devices, smart meters, transmission lines, etc.,” the Vice President added.

Stating the focus of government’s interventions aimed at addressing the fallouts of the pandemic, Prof. Osinbajo said the priorities we, as a government, have set for ourselves are centered around nine inter-related and inter-connected areas, which are”: 

Stabilizing the economy

Achieving agriculture and food security

Attaining energy sufficiency especially in power and petroleum products

Improving transportation and other infrastructure

Driving industrialization with a special focus on SMEs;

Expanding access to quality education, affordable healthcare and productivity of Nigerians

Enhancing social inclusion by scaling up social investments

Building a system to fight corruption, improve governance

Strengthen national security.

Present at the event were Nigeria’s Ambassador to Germany, Amb. Yusuf Tuggar; Germany’s Ambassador to Nigeria, Ambassador Birgitt Ory; the CEO of Afrika-Verein, Christoph Kannengiesser, among others.

Laolu Akande

Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media & Publicity

Office of the Vice President

9th November 2020