German Chancellor Olaf Scholz embarked on a West African tour, marking his third visit to the continent since assuming office in 2021. During his visit, Chancellor Scholz engaged in high-level discussions with Nigerian President Bola Tinubu. The primary focus of their talks revolved around bolstering trade and investment collaborations. Germany seeks to diversify its trade partners and expand economic alliances within the energy-rich region.
Germany perceives Nigeria as a significant trade partner and is keen on strengthening these bilateral relations further. The current trade volume between Germany and Nigeria is estimated at approximately 3 billion euros annually, affirming Nigeria’s position as Germany’s second-largest trading partner in sub-Saharan Africa.
A central theme of their deliberations was the collective effort to address both regional and global challenges. These include pressing issues such as migration, security, and the recent spate of coups in West and Central Africa. Chancellor Scholz underlined the extensive opportunities available, not only in the field of oil and gas but also in harnessing Nigeria’s potential to engage in forward-looking investments, particularly in the realm of hydrogen energy.
Experts have pointed to Africa’s potential role as a hydrogen energy exporter, especially in the context of a global shift towards clean and sustainable energy sources. During their discussions, Chancellor Scholz highlighted the importance of “co-management” of migration-related challenges as a mutually beneficial approach.
In line with their commitment to enhance migration management, both leaders are collaborating on a framework with the European Union. This framework seeks to address migration issues comprehensively, including the orderly return of individuals who do not have the right to stay in Germany. Chancellor Scholz emphasized that this initiative is a win-win proposition for both nations.
Before meeting President Tinubu, Chancellor Scholz articulated Germany’s substantial demand for natural gas. He stressed the necessity of reaching concrete agreements in negotiations between Nigerian gas producers and German gas traders. Nigeria, with its vast proven gas reserves of approximately 202 trillion cubic feet, is poised to play a crucial role in helping meet Europe’s gas requirements, particularly in the wake of Russia’s reduction in natural gas supplies following its conflict with Ukraine. Germany, for its part, has taken steps to diversify its sources of natural gas away from Russia.
The Nigerian President welcomed these discussions on gas investments and solicited Germany’s support in addressing Nigeria’s security and economic challenges. He expressed the determination to bring about transformative governance in Nigeria, emphasizing the need for continued support in sustaining democracy, the rule of law, and freedom.
During his West African tour, Chancellor Scholz also engaged with Omar Alieu Touray, the President of the ECOWAS Commission, the regional bloc for West Africa. Their discussions focused on strategies to address the recent coups in various parts of the African continent.
Chancellor Scholz will further the dialogue during a German-Nigerian business forum in Lagos, the economic hub of Nigeria, before concluding his visit in Ghana. This visit underscores Germany’s commitment to fortifying its ties with West African nations and fostering economic growth and cooperation in the region.