By Victor Gotevbe
Germany and China have made cooperation with Africa a priority.
The German government advocates for an Africa Partnership that will promote private investment, sustainable infrastructure and job creation in African countries, even as China has made commitments on supporting industrialization and the proliferation of renewable energy in African countries.
Hence, a trilateral cooperation is birthed.
On November 9, 2017, Sino-German Center for Sustainable Development organised the Sino-German African Development Cooperation Forum in Lagos.
The event had in attendance Government representatives, businesses and think tanks from China, Germany and Africa, as well as International organisations and the Media.
The gathering was organised to strengthen the Trilateral cooperation that would provide an ideal opportunity for Germany and China to jointly demonstrate their commitments to increase support for African countries.
This form of cooperation complements and brings together the traditional North-South and South-South cooperation models.
In line with the Compact with Africa, such cooperation needs to be guided by the African Union’s Agenda 2063 and African countries’ national development plans in order to be successful.
Declaring the Forum opened, Mr. Hagen Ettner, German Director of the Sino-German Center for Sustainable Development, stated that the Trilateral relations aim to create awareness about the center and to promote the exchange of views for the benefits of all cooperating parties.
Mrs. Jin Hong, Deputy Director of the Trade Development Bureau of the Minisry of Commerce applauded the opening of the forum in Nigeria.
Jin emphasized that the collaboration is an attempt and an endeavour, saying that the trilateral cooperation platform would be utilized to promote exchanges between China, Germany and Africa on development policies in economy, environment and society, and to share experiences in development, just in an attempt to find out possibility of trilateral cooperation opportunities with Africa in order to promote sustainable development.
Mrs Hong, however, announced and invited participants to the 2017 (Africa) China Commodities and Equipment Manufacturing Industry Expo holding simultaneously with the 2017 Lagos Trade Fair International Trade Fair.
According to her, over 200 Chinese enterprises are expected to showcase their products at the Expo.
Mrs Jin Hong also revealed that the first China International Import Expo will be held in Shanghai from November 5 to 10, 2018.
Also, speaking at the Forum, Mr. Liu Junsheng, Commercial Consul of the Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China revealed that China has always kept a stable, healthy and sustainable trade relationship with Nigeria, noting that there has been a corresponding increase in the trade volume.
“From January to August this year, the bilateral trade between China and Nigeria has achieved $8.94billion, an increase of 20.29% year on year,” he said.
The German Deputy Consul of German Consulate, Ms. Alexandra Herr, on her part, expressed confidence in the trilateral cooperation platform and its attendance benefits for Germany, China and Africa.
Mr. Wang Tianruo, First Secretary, Department of International Trade and Economic Affairs, Ministry of Commerce, shared successful experiences with Africa from the Sino-German development cooperation.
Zhao Wei, Deputy Managing Director of CGC Nigeria Limited who represented Mr. Ye Shuijin, President of the China Chamber of Commerce in Nigeria, similarly stated that there are overlapping interests between Germany, China and Africa.
He noted that, “Nigeria’s infrastructure gap is huge. German companies could contribute hi-tech aspects of infrastructure construction, and they have expertise to offer the professional and independent risk assessment. Chinese companies have a comparative advantage in the provision of cost-effective infrastructure, while the sustainability of such projects can be ensured by making use of Germany’s expertise in project management, social and environmental impact assessments.”
Meanwhile, other speakers at the event include Mr. Olu Delano, Head of Clients Coverage, Stanbic IBTC Bank Nigeria who stated that the Stanbic IBTC Bank is the largest bank in Africa, saying they are presently in 19 countries in Africa.
Delano said, this unique factor is the reason they are happy to support trade, provide debt solutions and other banking services to aid international trade.
Dr. Marc Lucassen, Delegate, Delegation of the German Industry and Commerce in Nigeria highlighted on German business engagement in Nigeria.
Also, Mrs Abosede Elizabeth Edoise, representing the Chief Executive of Nigeria Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC) dislosed how the agency is willing and ready to help both foreign and local investors in Nigeria.
She stated that the Federal Government of Nigeria in its efforts to ease administrative procedure which would usually take two months or more in the past now takes only 24 hours because of the One Stop Investment Centre (OSIC), which according to her houses 26 relevant agencies.
Edoise stressed that NIPC operates zero tolerance for bribery and corruption.
On his part, Dr. Olusegun Omisakin, who stood in for the Chief Executive of Nigeria Economic Summit Group (NESG) limited, disclosed how it plays a tripartite role on the Nigerian economy, as a Convener for both private and public sectors; a watchdog and direct intervention on policy and programming of Government.
He stated that the NESG would leverage on the trilateral cooperation for instance on vocational training through which a lot of youths can avail themselves of enormous unique opportunities.