By Cynthia Alo
Investors from the German Industry and Commerce (GIC) have expressed interest for long term investment partnerships with Small and Medium Enterprises in Nigeria.
Speaking at the just concluded 9th German-Nigeria business forum in Lagos, the investors stated that notwithstanding the challenging economic terrain of Nigeria, they want to invest more in the country with key areas of focus including construction, technology, finance, sustainability, energy and environment, food security, agric business, skills development among others.
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One of the investors who spoke at the forum, Katharina Felgenhauer, said, “Nigerian SMEs play a role in the country’s economy, and we have special competent sectors looking at innovation and startups by definition of working with them.
“So, across the value chains the SMEs play a vital role. However, for German companies that are interested in the Nigerian market, they will be looking at business partners that are reliable and for long term partners because the German companies that are coming to Nigeria to invest are here to stay for a long run which also gives opportunities to work with the small and medium enterprises on the Nigeria side.
“Bigger companies have a bigger track record that can be built on but smaller medium size companies often don’t have the track record. There are plenty of opportunities for bilateral cooperation.
“Most of our work is focused on business activities in Nigeria that involve German companies and German business partners in Nigeria either through direct investment, supply of technology and machinery, or through transfer of knowledge and technology.
On his part, the Acting Consul General, German Embassy in Nigeria, Dr. Bernd Von Munchow-Pohl, noted that, the delegate will continue to work with Nigeria as it has the biggest economy in Africa and a very attractive market, “It is very important that we have a strong partnership with companies here, he added.
“We have the whole range looking from the German side, we have companies who resell to your companies, we have companies who produce solely for the local market here, we have companies who produce here in Nigeria but part of the production is also sold beyond Nigeria.
“As you all know Nigeria’s export system is very tumbling for crude oil and there are some agricultural products and there are also some processed foods products but I think we would like to see more non-oil products and I think the Nigerian government is currently working on that.
“There is great potential for that but it would take some of their strength and they would also need support policies from the government to enable these exporters to do that so the country would be less dependent on oil.”
By Cynthia Alo