Governor Lawrence Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State delivered a keynote address at the 9th German – Nigerian Business Forum (#9thGNBF).
The 3-days hybrid event (onsite and online) held in Lagos last week attracted experts from technology, agriculture, finance, construction and other sectors from both countries.
The German-Nigeria Business Forum was organized by the Delegation of German Industry and Commerce in Nigeria (AHK Nigeria) in collaboration with the Nigerian–German Chamber of Commerce (NGCC) and the German-African Business Association (Afrika-Verein).
The 9th German-Nigeria Business Forum hosted over 300 local and international participants from the German and Nigerian business circle, political and diplomatic community.
In his keynote address which centered on “Innovation and Start-ups: Future of the Startup Ecosystem in Africa” the Governor aligned with event focus which addressed the opportunities, challenges and recent developments in sectors that include: Start-up (especially automotive and fintech); healthcare; skills development; agribusiness; construction; finance; energy and environment.
Speaking though Engr. Elvis Obi-Nwankwo, his special assistant on Innovations, Science and Technology, the Enugu State Governor said the administration has aggressively pursued an ICT policy thrust fostered on digital skills development; promotion of innovation and tech entrepreneurs.
He said that the State has provided unbridled regulatory and support frameworks that have accelerated the transactional capability of Enugu state for all things technology and Innovation.
Also present at the German-Nigeria Business Forum event was Mr Chidubem Anowor, the GM, Enugu State Tech Hub.
Recall that the state attended the GITEX Technology Week in Dubai, UAE last month as part of Nigeria’s official delegation under the auspices of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA).
GITEX is the world’s second largest technology event and this year, it hosted over 200, 000 participants from more than 140 countries.
At the German-Nigeria Business Forum forum in Lagos, Kathanna Felgenhauer, the delegation of German Industry & commerce in Nigeria, said the office will keep promoting Innovation, food processing & Packaging and logistics between the two countries.
“We have dedicated competence for these sectors. Training and Promotion for economic progress are our targets for the next business year. The two biggest economies in Africa and Europe is coming to form a symbiotic economic relationship,”
She implored the Nigeria government to roll out better policies to enable the two countries thrive business- wise, saying that its office is open for serious business discourse,” she added.
Speaking through Zoom, Babatunde Fashola, the minister of Works & Housing, recommended a minimum of one year Practical compulsory training for civil engineering students/graduate trainees to receive hands- on experience specifically in construction sites, and other persons (formally educated or not) involved in technical and vocational skills to be deployed in relevant sectors as a way of enhancing their skills before they undertake future projects.
Fashola who referred to the Ikoyi collapsed building, said it’s important for academic sector to utilize available funds, grants and other financial support to upgrade their facilities so that students might receive first hand Practical experience in their respective disciplines while in school and after school.
“We need to tweak our training programs for those in the construction industry. Civil engineering Students doing intern and others should be sent in construction sites not Construction companies, where they could have a real life Practical experience of their professions,”
In an address, Mrs lSolape Hammond, the special advisor to Lagos State governor on SDGs, reiterated the governor’s commitment to make Lagos Africa’s most preferred investment hub through sound Policies.
“We shall do our best to attract more ok Investors. Howbeit we welcome feasible and viable business ideas. We advocate and work towards acquisition of technical skills to transform our economy,” he maintained.
Meanwhile, Mr Emeka Offor, the acting executive secretary of Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission, represented by Mr John Oseji, Director of Policy Advocacy of the Commission, affirmed that NIPC has strategies and initiatives to attract investment into the identified national sectors of the economy to enable the country benefit from the immense opportunities offered by AfCFTA.
He also stated that the Commission has identified and is targeting 20 strategic countries to attract investment into the economy, noting that Germany is one of such strategic countries and urged the German investors to invest in Nigeria to take advantage of the large market and the access provided by the country to the ECOWAS sub-regional market.