The German Vice Consular-General in Nigeria, Jan H. Ahrens has assured that his government, through the Commercial Section of the embassy in Nigeria, would explore further talks around infrastructure and investment potentials of Imo State.
This was contained in his speech when the Imo State Liaison Officer in Lagos, Hon Anthony Abili, with his team paid him a courtesy visit recently at the German Embassy at the Walter Carrington Crescent, Victoria Island, Lagos.
Abili was at the embassy to solicit the cooperation of the German government in the area of healthcare, agriculture, technology and other investment opportunities. The visit was also in continuation of Abili’s consultations to key development partners in Lagos.
Ahrens called on the Liaison Officer to continue to maintain a good relationship with the consulate and keep her informed with the necessary activities of the state government, expressing the desire of the German to support Imo State through various German agencies in the area of healthcare supplies and equipment, while further exploring collaborative opportunities in the agricultural and technology sectors.
Ahrens also expressed the desire of the German government to support Imo State Government in the area of vocational skills training schools and possible university exchange programme. He said there had been previous German participations with health missions through supply of orthopaedic materials to a private hospital in Imo State. “We are ready to rekindle such partnership with the new government of Imo State,” the envoy said.
Earlier, Abili had enumerated the various areas of potential partnership, informing the German government of the opportunities in the agricultural sector in Imo. He made specific references to the rich rice belts that exist in the state, as well as the huge activities and opportunities in the area of cassava production, informing that the state ranks among the major cassava producing states in Nigeria.
He also highlighted the massive investment rewards available in processing cassava by-products like cassava chips, industrial starch and ethanol.
“While Nigeria remained the highest producer of cassava in the world at 20 percent of world production capacity, it still achieves only 39 per cent in local processing of the by-products as against 85 per cent and 90 per cent achievable in other foreign climes. In the area of health care, the Imo State Government intends to set up three well equipped government Specialist Hospitals, one each in Okigwe, Owerri and Orlu senatorial zones.“
Abili therefore sought the collaboration of the German Consulate, aid agencies and German government in development aid through provision of quality medical equipment and facilities for use in the proposed hospitals. “I assure you that Imo State remains a safe place and open to foreign partnerships and collaborations.”
The liaison Officer also spoke on the plans to establish an information communications technology (ICT) innovation hub in Owerri to empower youths in the state. He expressed the desire of the state government to engage the German government in facilitating exchange study programmes between the universities in the state and those in Germany.
“The Liaison Office is organising an investment seminar in Lagos aimed at showcasing Imo State as a veritable investment destination in Nigeria.”