Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, yesterday said that stronger international cooperation and collaboration among countries was crucial to deal with the disruptions caused by COVID-19 on economies and livelihoods and expedite economic recovery. Prof. Osinbajo stated this at the 8th German-Nigerian virtual Business Forum which featured presentations by representatives of the German and Nigerian business communities. According to him, “As it turned out, the pandemic is no respecter of borders, and has forced us to ponder on the importance of collaboration and international cooperation in solving some of our most pressing problems. “2020 will probably go down as perhaps the most challenging year in recent global history. No one can be blamed for the circumstances that led to it. However, history will hold us responsible as individual nations and collectively if we do not see and seize the immense opportunities that the moment presents.
Bilateral cooperation is a major plank of that effort. We must use the German Nigeria forum to snatch growth and prosperity for our countries from the jaws of the pandemic. “Cooperation between our countries and between sectors, is now more important than ever and this forum is an essential platform for deliberating on the mutually beneficial ways that we can achieve our shared objectives as nations. “And we already have an excellent example the Presidential Power Initiative (PPI), a power infrastructure upgrade and modernisation programme, agreed to by the Nigerian government and Siemens AG of Germany, with the support of the German Government. “Under the initiative, the Nigerian government will on behalf of the other shareholders in the DisCos invest in infrastructure upgrades in the form of improved payment systems, distribution substations, transformers, protection devices, smart meters, transmission lines, etc.” The Vice President in a statement issued by his Spokesman, Laolu Akande said the focus of government’s interventions was aimed at addressing the fallouts of the pandemic, adding that the government’s priorities centered around nine inter-related and inter-connected areas. This, he added, included: stabilizing the economy; achieving agriculture and food security; attaining energy sufficiency especially in power and petroleum products; improving transportation and other infrastructure; driving industrialization with a special focus on SMEs; expanding access to quality education, affordable healthcare and productivity of Nigerians; enhancing social inclusion by scaling up social investments; building a system to fight corruption, improve governance; and strengthening national security. Present at the event were Nigeria’s Ambassador to Germany, Amb. Yusuf Tuggar; Germany’s Ambassador to Nigeria, Ambassador Birgitt Ory; the CEO of Afrika-Verein, Christoph Kannengiesser, among others.