Germany pushes for more African collaboration

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The German president's push for permanent "fair representation of Africa" is to be debated alongside concerns over energy and the international financial crisis.

Abuja -- German President Horst Koehler signed two bilateral economic policy agreements with Nigeria on Monday after calling for a permanent seat for Africa on the United Nations Security Council.

Continuing his six day visit to Nigeria, Koehler said that in efforts to reform the UN Security Council, there must be a "fair representation of Africa," although he did not specify which country should be considered to hold the seat.

The German president also said that a fair representation for all the world's regions should be assured in other international organizations such as the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF). Koehler had previously headed the IMF.

Koehler said this issue should be considered in the debate concerning the causes of the international financial crisis.

One of the agreements of the bilateral economic policy agreements concerns the intension of Germany air carrier Lufthansa to make more frequent flights to Nigeria as well as flights to other African countries from the Nigerian capital Abuja.

The other economic agreement concerns greater engagement by German energy company E.ON in Nigeria, including the introduction of technology to supply Nigeria's unused gas reserves for domestic use as well as for export.

Koehler stated that Nigeria is to be taken seriously as a developing nation.

Germany's interest in Nigeria went beyond concerns over energy, Koehler added, saying that Nigeria should move on from simply delivering oil and gas toward establishing its own manufacturing industry.

While showing a great interest in Germany technology, Nigerian President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua said his country was also working with energy companies from other countries including the United States and Russia.

The German president arrived in Nigeria on Friday and had participated in the Africa Forum over the weekend: a German initiative that brings together African and European business leaders.


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