During a West Africa tour, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz held discussions with Nigerian President Bola Tinubu on Sunday, focusing on trade and investment opportunities, as Germany seeks to broaden its trade connections and foster economic alliances in the energy-rich region.
During his third visit to Africa since assuming office in 2021, and the second this year, Scholz emphasized the necessity for enhancing Nigeria’s self-sufficiency while concurrently pursuing enhanced trade relations with its second-largest trading partner in sub-Saharan Africa. The estimated annual Germany-Nigeria trade volume is approximately 3 billion euros.
During their meeting in the capital of Abuja, Scholz informed Tinubu that key elements of the countries’ collaboration involve supporting Nigeria in addressing regional and global concerns like migration, security challenges, and frequent coups in West and Central Africa.
Scholz highlighted the multitude of opportunities beyond gas and oil, emphasizing the potential for maximizing Nigeria’s capabilities and venturing into future investments, particularly in the realm of hydrogen. With Africa being deemed a potential hydrogen energy exporter, the focus on energy transition has gained significant momentum.
Under significant domestic pressure to tackle migration concerns in Germany, the German leader proposed a strategy of “co-management” that would yield the most benefits for both countries.
A framework is also being developed with the European Union to improve migration and ensure among other things that “those who have no the right to stay in my country can go back and should go back and this is part of something that is a win-win story for the two countries,” Scholz said.
Prior to his discussion with Tinubu, Scholz informed the Lagos-based Punch newspaper that Germany possesses a substantial requirement for natural gas, stressing the necessity for specific quantities of supplies to be determined through negotiations between Nigerian gas producers and German gas traders.
With Africa’s largest confirmed gas reserves estimated at 202 trillion cubic feet, Nigeria has expressed a strong interest in contributing to Europe’s gas requirements, particularly due to reduced natural gas flows from Russia following the conflict with Ukraine. Despite this, Germany has diversified its gas sources away from Russia since the conflict.
The Nigerian leader expressed that he engaged in an extensive conversation on gas investments with the German chancellor, and also requested Germany’s assistance in tackling the nation’s security and economic difficulties.
Tinubu remarked that Nigeria is progressing slowly, yet remains committed to altering the prevailing narrative and fostering a transformative government. He emphasized the crucial need for continued support in this endeavor, underscoring the importance of upholding democracy, the rule of law, and freedom for the nation’s citizens.
Additionally, Scholz held a meeting with Omar Alieu Touray, the president of the ECOWAS Commission, West Africa’s regional bloc, to deliberate on strategies for addressing recent coups in various parts of Africa. Tomorrow, he is scheduled to inaugurate a German-Nigerian business forum in the commercial center of Lagos before concluding his visit to Ghana on Tuesday.