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July 5, 2024

Germany explores potential of exchange programmes with Nigeria

By Upfrontdigital News 0 67 Views

German investors and entrepreneurs at the Berlin meets Lagos event organised by The Nest Innovation and Technology Park


By Bisi Olanipekun

Lagos recently played host to a delegation of German entrepreneurs, innovators and investors, underscoring the importance of exchange programs in bridging talent and opportunities across continents. The visit, organized by the Delegation of German Industry and Commerce in Nigeria (AHK Nigeria) and German Corporation for International Cooperation (GIZ) aimed to foster international collaboration between Germany and Nigeria.

    The Nest Innovation and Technology Park, a leading innovation hub in Lagos, led conversations between Nigerian entrepreneurs/innovators and the delegation.

    One of the critical areas of focus was the health sector. Gernot Sümmermann, founder of Cynteract, highlighted a significant issue: “There are not many physiotherapists in the country.

   “Not enough therapists and healthcare which we confirmed. Some Nigerians complain about their parents not having access to basic healthcare in local areas, especially physiotherapy.”

    This sentiment was echoed by Aditi Mishra (the chief innovation officer of Cynteract) who, despite the warm reception in Nigerian hospitals, noted the need for improved healthcare infrastructure and support from the government.

     The delegates also pointed out the complexities in the regulatory framework. “There are Federal and State taxes on productions. There are also no clear guidelines on how to operate here, which makes it challenging and complicated. We will have to import everything which is unfortunate. The case is different in Rwanda given the government’s receptiveness to change and development” said Gernot. This regulatory uncertainty makes it difficult for foreign entrepreneurs to establish a manufacturing base in Nigeria, a goal many had hoped to achieve.

German delegation courtesy visit to LASG Commissioner for Innovation, Science and Tech

   The delegates were particularly impressed by the potential of Nigeria’s young talent pool. With 60% of Africa’s population under the age of 25, there is immense opportunity for growth and development. However, as Brian Mohr, founder of Brian Mohr Consulting, pointed out, “Mobility for young people is a challenge in Nigeria. Transportation system is subpar here in Nigeria. The government needs to step in as mobility rides on the back of existing infrastructure.”

   Alicia Reimer, founder of Alo Akademia, emphasized the need for structural changes. “It is important to close the education gap between the poor and the rich. This is a structural problem.

   “From my observation, Nigerians are open to development and there are innovators ready to solve these problems. But there is a need for good structures and systems to support innovation and growth” she said. Her vision includes creating free open spaces where children can safely work on their ideas and connect with others, thus avoiding being a victim of the system.”

   Talent export and training infrastructure were also key topics during the visit. Deborah Aboagye, founder and CEO of Ivory Tech Hub, noted the need for high-quality training to develop local talent. “Nigeria has a lot to offer with respect to talent and skilled people. Yes, they are available,

but they are not so useful for the complexities global companies are working on a day-to-day basis,” she said. Aboagye also highlighted the need for step-by-step progress evaluation to assess eligibility for global opportunities, and stressed the importance of investing in talent to create a win-win situation for everyone.

   While hosting the delegates at The Nest, Oluwajoba Oloba, founder of The Nest Innovation and Technology Park said “We are proposing to the government to help educate out-of-school children. We are looking to build infrastructures which provide young children opportunities to explore their creativity.” he said. Despite the challenges, Oloba remains optimistic: “All my cards are on Nigeria.”

   The tech sector was another area of interest. Kaif Ali, founder of Space Era, stressed the importance of communicating value on the continent. “There’s a big gap of awareness and in communicating value in Nigeria and Africa as a whole,” he said. Ali emphasized the need for

better strategies to track development and communication to attract foreign investments.

Other delegations

   The visit also highlighted the need for collaboration and mutual growth. As the delegates engaged with over 40 companies across various sectors, they gained invaluable knowledge and identified potential avenues for partnerships. This exchange program has opened up new opportunities for growth, innovation, and mutual prosperity between    Germany and Nigeria.

   While the visit highlighted numerous challenges, it also underscored the immense potential for collaboration and growth. Strengthening ties with Nigerian businesses and entrepreneurs is vital for creating sustainable economic development and innovation in Africa.

   The Nest Innovation and Technology Park played a huge role in introducing the delegates to entrepreneurs, high-profile innovators and organizations in Nigeria.. As these relationships continue to develop, the future looks promising for Germany and Nigeria.

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