By Margaret Mwantok
Representatives of Austria, Germany and Switzerland have reiterated commitment to expanding business activities and workforce in Nigeria, following the recent ranking by the World Bank Ease of Doing Business index which placed the country among the 10 most improved economies.
The delegate of German Industry and Commerce in Nigeria, Marc Lucassen, said foreign businessmen were optimistic about the economic climate in Nigeria, noting that German companies were becoming more interested in the market.
At the third presentation of Austria-German-Swiss Business Outlook (AGSBO) in Lagos on Wednesday, Lucassen said though Nigeria moved up 24 points in the World Bank Ease of Doing Business index and was among the 10 most improved economies, its business prospects in the next one year might be static.
According to the survey, 47.2 per cent expressed strong believe in general growth of businesses before the end of the year, as against the 8.3 per cent, who thought otherwise.
Lucassen, however, stressed that finding skilled workforce, especially in the field of engineering, was a major challenge, hence, most foreign companies result to recruitment and training of staff in-house.
“Nigeria has to invest heavily in education, as human capital is key for industrialization and diversification,” he advised.
He listed the major factors affecting investment activities in the country as forex supply, transport infrastructure and security.
The Deputy Consul General of the German Consulate General in Lagos, Ms. Alexandra Herr, said a German business desk was launched last year at Access Bank in Lagos in conjunction with the Deutsche Investitions-und Entwicklungsgesellschaft (DEG), aimed at addressing the particular needs of German firms and their local partners seeking financing solutions to enter the Nigerian market.
“I am confident that the interest in the Nigerian market will continue to translate into a series of initiatives, including visits of trade delegations in the months to come.
We will continue to work tirelessly in order to promote our bilateral trade relations,” she said.