Bilateral relations between Nigeria and Germany took a great leap forward in the last 12 months culminating in the successful establishment of a Bi-National Commission in December 2011.

          To underpin these excellent relations, President Jonathan visited Germany from April 19-20, 2012 at the invitation of both the Chancellor of Germany, Her Excellency Dr. (Mrs.) Angela Merkel and the President of the Federal Republic of Germany, His Excellency, Mr. Joachim Guack.

          Mr. President’s engagement in Germany ere worthwhile and rewarding. These featured an interface with the cream of German business community, including representatives of the private sector and German-African Business Association (the Afrika-Verein). The meeting provided an avenue to discuss pressing and urgent challenges of empowering Nigerian youths with necessary skills to enable them participate meaningfully in increasingly knowledge-driven economy as well as in some aspects of the Transportation Agenda. It also provided an opportunity to solicit the expansion of German investments in Nigeria to include technology transfer resource development. This is in the bid to equip young and educated Nigerians with skills, knowledge and access to information that could catalyze their global competitiveness,

          The President also met with and addressed members of the German Council of Foreign Relations on the important topic of “Nigeria-Germany Relations: opportunities for improved partnership.

          Specifically, Mr. President engaged the German President and the Chancellor on wide ranging issues of bilateral, regional and international interest to both countries, culminating in the formal flag-off of the Bi-National Commission.

Following the inauguration, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Dr, Martin Uhomoibhi and the Secretary of State of the German Foreign Ministry, Ms. Emily Haber, co-chaired the Plenary Session of the Commission, which thereafter continued in four (4) Working Groups sessions, namely: The Working Groups on Economy, Power and Energy, Education, Culture and Migration and Political Consultation.

          Through the Working Group on Education, culture and Migration issues, the two sides adopted a Joint Declaration aimed, among others, at developing common perspectives on issues of entry, re-entry, permits aimed, among others, at developing common perspectives on in issues of entry, re-entry, permits and capacity building for Nigeria Institutions such as the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS), NAPTIP) etc. The Nigerian Minister of Interior signed on behalf of the Federal Government while the German Secretary of State for the Ministry of Interior signed on behalf of the German Government. In the academic field, understanding has been reached to establish academic exchanges between universities of Frankfurt, Ilorin and Ibadan in Nigeria. The forum also provided National Identity Management Commission the opportunity to initiate partnerships with interested German firms and institutions to facilitate an effective discharge of its mandate.

          The two countries have developed common positions on several regional and international matters. They agreed on the need to support ECOWAS, particularly in strengthening ECOWAS institutions, and unequivocal rejection of unconstitutional change of governments in Mali and Guinea Bissau. They also developed a common understanding on the evil of and method of combat terrorism and international piracy.

          Germany has continued to demonstrate its understanding of and commends Nigeria’s leadership role in Africa and the country’s International Peace-Keeping efforts. They have also set in motion a process to establish cooperation between the two Foreign Ministries including supporting Nigeria’s 36+1 training programme aimed at capacity building for middle level diplomatic staff.

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