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Germany's Scholz looking to Nigeria for natural gas — report

October 29, 2023

The German chancellor landed in Nigeria on Sunday. Earlier, he told a local newspaper that there was potential for "much more cooperation and investment" with Abuja.

Olaf Scholz disembarking his plane in Abuja, Nigeria
Chancellor Olaf Scholz is looking to strengthen bilateral relations with Africa's largest economyImage: Michael Kappeler/dpa/picture alliance

Germany is eyeing the possibility of importing natural gas from Nigeria, according to comments Chancellor Olaf Scholz made in an interview with Nigerian daily newspaper The Punch.

Scholz touched down in the West African state on Sunday for a trip aimed at strengthening bilateral relations with Africa's largest economy, his office said in a statement.

It is the German leader's first visit to Nigeria since the inauguration of the new government under President Bola Tinubu.

What did Scholz say?

"Nigeria has the biggest gas supply in Africa," Scholz was quoted by the Nigerian newspaper as saying. "German companies are interested in gas deliveries from Nigeria and look forward to cooperation with Nigerian gas companies."

Scholz also said that Germany saw Nigeria as "a key partner for us in Africa, politically and economically."

The German chancellor added that he was "eager to discover the country and strengthen and deepen our partnership," mentioning economic cooperation, investments, global issues, migration and security.

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Scholz is expected to hold talks with Tinubu during his trip. He is also scheduled to open a Nigeria-German business conference and meet with civil society representatives and entrepreneurs.

Hydrogen also needed for energy transition

Scholz said Germany was also looking into "joint initiatives to ramp up the hydrogen market," with hydrogen set to play an important role in the future.

Germany currently imports large quantities of crude oil from Nigeria, but no gas.

"Germany has a considerable demand for natural gas and, going forward, hydrogen to fuel its economy and energy transition. Concrete amounts should be agreed on in negotiations between Nigerian gas producers and German gas traders," Scholz was reported to have said.

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.

He said there was potential for greater cooperation and investment in several areas, from "infrastructure and energy to agriculture business, mineral resources, information and communication technologies, transport and logistics, and beyond."

Following the visit to Nigeria, Scholz is to travel on to Ghana.

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kb/nm (dpa, Reuters)