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Africa

Nigerian Foreign Minister: 'Diversify the economy with Germany's help'

With German President Joachim Gauck currently visiting Nigeria, DW spoke to Nigerian Foreign Minister Geoffrey Onyeama about how Germany can help the country become less dependent on oil and curb the threat of terrorism.

Joachim Gauck has begun a four-day visit to Nigeria, with talks on closer business ties and the fight against terrorism likely to top his agenda. He met with Nigerian Foreign Minister Geoffrey Onyeama in Lagos on Monday. DW's Africa correspondent, Adrian Kriesch, asked Onyeama about his hopes for Gauck's visit.

DW: Mr Onyeama, what do you expect from Germany's Federal President Joachim Gauck?

Geoffrey Onyeama: We expect to hopefully sign a number of agreements, maybe trade agreements. And we want to identify areas in which Germany can provide some technical assistance as well.

What areas specifically?

Well, for example in the field of agriculture. We also expect him to meet various Nigerian economic institutions like the Chambers of Commerce and others. We believe that we have to diversify our economy away from oil. We have been too reliant on the oil sector. And now with the price of oil being so low, it could be a great opportunity to diversify and focus on other economic sectors. For this, Germany can offer a lot of skills in many different areas. As we also want to industrialize, Germany can support us in a technical capacity. So we want Mr Gauck and his business delegation to engage with representatives from the Nigerian business, trade and agricultural sectors.

There is also a common interest in the fight against terrorism. Do you think this will also play an important role during the visit?

Yes, I believe so. It is a global challenge. As you know, we have a number of challenges in the north east of Nigeria. Germany has been very supportive of us so far. We hope to discuss common strategies that we feel will help with the security challenges that we face and the global security challenges.

Do you believe Germany could do more than it has done so far in helping to fight terrorism?

I would not say that it could do more. It is a question of sitting down and identifying areas where there could be some input from Germany. Also, it is for Germany to decide whether it has the resources to address those particular challenges. But we really cannot complain. Germany has been extremely supportive.

The interview was conducted by DW correspondent Adrian Kriesch

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