Germany to enhance military cooperation with Ecowas

Adoba Echono, Abuja

German Minister for Foreign Affairs Frank-Walter Steinmeier

The German government has reiterated its commitment in partnering with ECOWAS to ensure peace and security in the region.

The German Minister for Foreign Affairs Frank-Walter Steinmeier, stated this when he visited the President of ECOWAS, Mercel Allian de Souza in Abuja.

Mr. Steinmeir said his country would continue to support the ECOWAS standby force in tackling all forms of security related issues in the region.

‘’For Germany partnering with ECOWAS is a priority.”

”Germany commends ECOWAS progress in peace and security; we strive to be an active partner of ECOWAS, supporting the civil and military component of ECOWAS Standby Force”, Mr. Steinmeir explained.”

On migration, Mr. Steinmeir decried the illegal and dangerous migration of Africans through the Mediterranean to Europe.

“It is obviously of great concern to us the droves of people crossing the Mediterranean in dangerous conditions to get to Europe.”

“Closer cooperation amongst countries of origin transit and destination is necessary to prevent further deaths at sea”.

Mr. Steinmer also urged ECOWAS member states to sign the Economic Partner Agreement to aid and facilitate trade between Europe and Africa.

On his part, the President of ECOWAS, Mercel Allian de Souza decried the demographic growth of the region which he said was not commensurate with the economic growth of the region.

He said because of the hardship in the region, most Nigerians try to move to Europe for better life.

Earlier, the Bi-National Commission (BNC) between the German delegation and Nigerian counterparts met.

They decried decrease in Nigerian-German bilateral trade which according to them had nose-dived by fifty per cent.

The Volume of bilateral trade between Nigeria and Germany has decreased from 5.4 billion Euros in 2014 to 2.9 billion Euros in 2015 according to Mr. Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

The Minister said that Nigeria remained Germany’s second most important economic partner inn Sub Saharan Africa.

He said that there was the need to strengthen on this development in the interest of both countries.

“Both sides believe that open markets are the most important prerequisite for free and rules-based trade to everyone’s mutual advantage.”

“Nigeria and Germany agree that investment is crucial in order to boost prosperity, employment development and security, and to improve education.”

“Germany welcomes Nigeria’s efforts to diversify the economy which also provides business opportunities for Germany companies to invest in the Nigerian Economy.”

“Both sides see potential for more efforts to be made, especially in the infrastructure sector,” he said.

According to him to this end German Government offers an Export Credit Guaranteed Scheme as a means of providing support for German export transactions with private buyers in Nigeria.

He added that the scheme offered investment guarantees for German investment in Nigeria

“In order to deepen our bilateral economic relations, the German Government also supports market exploration missions by business delegation,” he said.

He said that in 2016, Germany had committed eight million Euros for vocational training programme in Nigeria.