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Jonathan visits Germany, makes case for public, private partnership to boost economic growth

By The Citizen
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Former President Goodluck Jonathan has made a case for public, private

sector collaboration in the effort to boost development and economic

growth in Africa.
Jonathan who stated this in Wiesbaden, Germany where he was hosted by

the leaders of the parliament of the state of Hessen last week, as he

continued consultations to build relationships ahead of the launch of

his foundation later this year, stressed that a private sector-led

economic growth comes with all the guarantees for sustainable

development.
The former President who was also hosted by the top management of

Merck, the German pharmaceutical giant, at the firm's headquarters in

Darmstadt, stated that he was in Germany to explore ways of deepening

relations and ties with institutions in the European economic giant,

in line with his crusade to improve the quality of leadership and

lives of Africans.
The former President said: 'Listening to all of you, I am very

impressed with your line of thought in relation with the initiative

for government, private sector collaboration. It is a system I am very

comfortable with, as it promotes growth and development.'

'When I was serving as the President, I had my economic management

team comprising of both government officials and private sector

people. I always emphasized that for sustainable economic growth, the

government can only create the environment for a private sector-led

growth. That also reduces the issue of rent seekers and corruption in

public enterprises.'
The former President also shared with his hosts his intention to

devote his time towards promoting good governance and entrepreneurship

through his planned foundation.
Jonathan further said: 'One other area I plan to dedicate my

post-presidential life is the issue of wealth creation, encouraging

individuals to create small businesses, especially in agriculture. We

did it while I was in office by encouraging youths to take advantage

of our incentives to embrace agriculture, exploring all its value

chain. 'We called them nagropreneurs. They were young graduates of

different professionals. We encouraged them to go into pure commercial

farming and process their produce or processed products for export. We

also did that for entrepreneurs in other areas by training them in

business skills to enable them start small businesses. The greatest

problem youths face is the lack of business skills.'

Jonathan also noted that Germany and Nigeria enjoy good diplomatic,

cultural and economic relations as demonstrated by exchange of regular

top level visits and exploration of investment opportunities. 'When I

was in office the German chancellor Angela Merkel visited me and I

also visited her. I am told that the German President will soon visit

Nigeria. I believe the visit will further strengthen the good

relations between Germany in Nigeria'
In his welcome remarks, the President of the Hessen Parliament,

Norbert Kartmann emphasized that the state had been working to promote

democracy and peace in Nigeria through an annual Peace Prize it awards

to deserving Nigerians. He expressed interest in collaborating with

Goodluck Jonathan Foundation in areas that would promote youth

employment, adding that 'the state would go further to recruit good

footballers from Nigeria.'
On his own part, Stefan Oschmann, the Vice Chairman of the Executive

Board and deputy chief executive officer of Merck, said that the

pharmaceutical giant was interested in expanding its operations

Nigeria because of the advantage of the country's huge population.

According to Oschmann, Merck's business range spans health care, life

science and performance materials like groundbreaking liquid crystals,

effect pigments as well as high-tech materials for the electronic

industry.
'For instance, anybody who has a smart phone is using our product

because of the presence of liquid crystals in it, if you drive a car,

our product is in the paint and in the colour of your cosmetics,' he

said.