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Germany seeks Nigeria energy and migration partnerships

October 30, 2023

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz is visiting Nigeria as part of a three-day visit to West Africa. Part of his mission is to agree an energy partnership to diversify Germany's energy sources. Another is tackling migration.

Chancellor Olaf Scholz as he is greeted with military honors at the start of his visit to Nigeria
It's Scholz's third trip to the African continent as chancellor and he will also be visiting GhanaImage: Michael Kappeler/dpa/picture alliance

The German chancellor continued his visit to Nigeria on Monday in an effort to deepen ties with the African continent's most populous country.

Scholz called for a closer partnership with Nigeria when it came to managing migration, including the repatriation of Nigerians who did not have the right to stay in Germany. 

The Chancellor also spoke of potential cooperation between the two nations on energy as Germany looks to diversify its sources of natural gas.

What Scholz said about migration

The German chancellor proposed expanding migration centers in Nigeria to support returnees from Germany. Scholz said the centers could also be used to advise skilled workers to become established in Germany. 

"This requires some preparation and investment — on both sides," Scholz said, adding that he had spoken about the issue with Nigerian President Bola Tinubu on Sunday.

German Chancellor Scholz holds talks in Nigeria

"I am convinced that this is another area where we can exploit enormous potential arising from closer cooperation between our two countries and between our two continents," Scholz said, speaking at an economic forum in the coastal city of Lagos on Monday.

Tinubu has said he supports the repatriation of migrants, provided that they are Nigerian.

Proving this might be the most difficult part of the scheme because their identity cannot be established. 

Of almost 14,000 asylum seekers from Nigeria obliged to leave Germany, some 12,500 are allowed to stay mostly because they have no identity papers.

What else is Germany seeking from Nigeria?

In an interview published before the trip, which will also include a visit to Ghana, Scholz revealed that he was seeking to import natural gas from the country, which is also Africa's largest economy.

More than 13,000 Nigerian returnee migrants in three years

"Nigeria has the biggest gas supply in Africa," Scholz told the Nigerian daily The Punch. "German companies are interested in gas deliveries from Nigeria and look forward to cooperation with Nigerian gas companies."

While Germany already imports large quantities of crude oil from Nigeria, it does not import gas.

The chancellor said Berlin was also exploring "joint initiatives to ramp up the hydrogen market," with hydrogen expected to play an important role in meeting future energy needs.

But with the hydrogen market still underdeveloped and Germany no longer being supplied natural gas by Russia, the importing of liquefied natural gas (LNG) has taken on a greater significance.

Nigeria has emerged as an option for Germany, with Norway now Germany's main supplier of LNQ.

"Nigeria has an ambitious plan for the energy transition," Scholz said at an economic forum in Lagos on Monday. "And you are also well positioned to remain a key player for renewable energy and hydrogen — as well as for liquefied natural gas, which we will continue to need in the coming years until the hydrogen market is fully established."

Nigeria: Economic woes curb Independence Week celebrations

The German chancellor also pointed out that there was potential for greater cooperation and investment between the two countries in other sectors.

"This applies to a variety of sectors, ranging from infrastructure and energy to agriculture business, mineral resources, information and communication technologies, transport and logistics, and beyond," he told The Punch.

Scholz also pointed out that Nigeria was Germany's second-largest trading partner in sub-Saharan Africa, with direct German investments in Nigeria amounting to €150 million ($158 million) in 2021.

More help with security

Scholz has said Germany ought to expand support for Nigeria's military and the police when it comes to the fight against Islamist terror groups such as Boko Haram, which operates in the northeastern part of Nigeria.

The extremist group carries out bloody attacks against civilians and has increasingly taken control of swaths of territory.

Nigeria has emerged as one of West Africa's most stable democracies since the end of a military dictatorship in 1999.

rc/rt (AP, dpa)

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