Photo : Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode (2nd left); his wife, Bolanle (right), jointly presenting a gift to the President, Federal Republic of Germany, Mr. Joachim Gauck (left) and his wife, Gerhild (2nd right), during a courtesy visit to the Governor by the German President, at the Lagos House, Ikeja, on Monday, February 08, 2016.
Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode on Monday expressed the desire of his administration to partner with the Federal Republic of Germany in the areas of power, transport, technology and development finance to bring about a quantum leap in establishment and sustenance of businesses in the State.
Governor Ambode, who spoke at Lagos House in Ikeja while playing host to the President of Germany, Mr. Joachim Gauck, said he was also favourably disposed to a sister-city relationship between Lagos, the economic capital of Nigeria and Frankfurt, the commercial hub in Germany, especially in the area of financial service sector.
He said Lagos, being a commercial hub and the fourth largest economy in Africa with a GDP that is bigger than those of 41 countries in the continent combined, and Frankfurt, a major economic hub in Europe should explore a working relationship in terms of massive financial service that would be mutually beneficial to the two cities.
While stating that the parameters for high return on investment abound in Lagos, Governor Ambode said ever since assuming office, he has deliberately put in place measures to encourage foreign investment, adding that he had also invested massively in ensuring the safety of lives and property both of Nigerians in Lagos and foreigners.
“One of the things I have tried to do quickly is to uphold the situation that there must be sanctity of law and there must be rule of law. We are strongly committed to the security and judicial sector reforms and we believe that is the only way we can encourage investors to come and do business in Lagos,” the Governor said.
He added: “I must recognize quickly the volume of German investments that we have in Lagos and I must quickly recognize what it means to us because ultimately it is about creation of jobs for our people and where we see a situation where we have willing partners and by the demonstration of the number and quality of businessmen that you have brought in this delegation, I am assured that we would have so much to do together as we proceed.
“I will like to let you know that the key areas that we are deeply interested in are power, technology and transport. We believe that we need to change the state of our transportation system in Lagos and that is why we are quietly talking to some German companies that we want a situation where we can actually phase out some of the buses that we are using for the quality buses that come from Germany and we are talking about buses to the volume of 10, 000 to 20, 000.
“Beyond that, we must also start to think about creating assembling plants and also workshop plants in Lagos to grow the economy of Germany and at the same time grow the economy of Nigeria,” Governor Ambode said.
Earlier in his remarks, President Gauck said he was delighted to be in Lagos which he described as the centre of business, political development, creativity and intellect in the art of West Africa.
President Gauck, who spoke through an interpreter, said he was particularly delighted to be in Lagos first on his visit to Nigeria, adding that he would be willing to learn and hear more about the successes of Nigeria and the problems which the country has had to tackle.
“My visit is meant to underline the friendly close ties existing between Germany and Nigeria.
“We have great interest in the area of trade and we in Germany are ready to share our experiences in those areas where you think they might prove helpful or necessary and we are happy to share the experiences we have acquired in fostering security and fostering social security. We are happy to share the knowledge we have acquired in the field of science and technology and cooperate with you,” President Gauck said.
The German President, who was accompanied by his wife and top government functionaries as well as strong delegation from the business community, said he would like to explore partnership with Nigeria in areas of providing vocational training assistance and strengthening cooperation between private institutions and government institutions, as well as partner on transfer of entrepreneurial skills.
President Gauck, who is billed to meet with President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday, further pledged the readiness of his country to assist Nigeria with technical know-how to successfully fight terrorism.
He added: “We ought to stay in touch, we ought to be talking about coming together to further the investment climate and look at how we can invest here.
“All in all Mr. Governor, I’m delighted to be here. I’m delighted about the opportunity to meet you in person and to get to know this fascinating part of Africa; to see its development, to see some of its cultural diversity and the lively energy that dominate this part of the world.”