Czech Agriculture Minister Marian Jurečka is heading a Czech business delegation to Nigeria and Senegal with the aim of further developing political and economic relations. His talks with top officials in Abuja revealed potential for cooperation in the fields of energy, infrastructure and security.
Nigeria is the Czech Republic’s second biggest trade partner in Sub-Saharan Africa and Czech machinery products are well established in the country. The aim of this trade mission is to build on the country’s sound reputation and broaden cooperation to other areas. Czech Agriculture Minister Marian Jurečka:
“The Czech Republic wants to offer Nigeria its technology and know-how in the areas of health, security, energy and engineering.”
Czech firms are offering their goods at highly competitive prices and Nigeria is particularly interested in using Czech technology and knowhow in the field of energy production. The capital Abuja has power failures as many as three times a day and the Nigerian Energy Ministry is interested in various forms of power production – coal plants, solar plants, hydropower plants and biomass power production. Energy Minister Babatunde Fashola explains:
“In the ministry of power our road map is to first get incremental power – we do not have enough power as a country, so the short-term plan is to get incremental power, build on to steady power and then go on to uninterrupted power. So, in that context, every unit of electricity that we can put onto the grid is important. Farmers are very important to us and we must give them energy, we must give them roads so that they can move their produce to the market, we must give them energy so they can preserve what they produce. So that is the context in which your minister and I have been talking about biomass power production where they can use all sorts of farm produce to generate their own power. It is an opportunity that I believe we will explore.”
Another area where Czech firms have plenty to offer is security, cooperation which would help the Nigerian government fight the militant Islamist group Boko Haram in the north of the country. Minister Marian Jurečka again:
“Within the area of security the Czech Republic is already helping to train Nigerian security forces. Czech companies can also offer technology, ammunition and weapons systems. We can help with technology intended for border protection, terrain recognition systems, drones and so on. Czech firms have a good reputation here there is plenty of Czech technology in the country already so there is plenty to build on.”
Minister Jurečka will also take part in a Czech-Nigerian Business Seminar in Abuja and discuss with Nigerian officials Czech plans to set up a CzechTrade office in Lagos.
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