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Nigeria Hopeful of Economic Boom Following Investment Deals

Nigerian President Bola Tinubu is welcoming new trade agreements with Germany, including a deal that calls for the West African nation to export liquid natural gas.

The signing Tuesday of two memoranda of understanding between Nigerian companies and their German counterparts was the latest in a flurry of investment deals clinched by the Tinubu-led administration in recent months.

The signings come less than two weeks after Nigeria and Saudi Arabia agreed to a deal to revive the country’s nonfunctional refineries.

Tinubu is seeking to make the country attractive to investors in a bid to revive an economy bedeviled by slow growth, rising inflation and huge debt.

Under one deal, Riverside LNG of Nigeria will supply 850,000 tons of liquefied natural gas to Germany each year, working with German firm Johannes Schuetze Energy Import AG. The first delivery of gas is expected in 2026, and the president’s office said gas exports may increase in future years.

Authorities say the deal will make use of natural gas that otherwise would have been flared into the atmosphere. Nigeria has Africa’s largest gas reserves — over 5 trillion cubic meters — but due to poor processing infrastructure, the country burns off much of it every day.

Nigeria also secured a $500 million renewable energy deal with another German company. The deal calls for Germany’s DWS Group to supply funding for renewable energy projects in Nigeria, especially in rural areas.

The president’s spokesperson, Ajuri Ngelale, did not take calls for comment, but he spoke to Lagos-based Channels television about the president’s drive for foreign investments.

“He is personally conducting an open-door policy to investors from around the world, including here in Germany, to ensure that they have direct access to all of the regulators and government officials that will further enhance the environment in which foreign direct investments will be coming into the country,” Ngelale said.

This week Tinubu attended the G20 Compact with Africa Summit in Berlin that experts say is an avenue for African countries to expand their economies through investments and trade.

Emeka Okengwu, an economic analyst, said the investments are important.

“There’s no way $500 million can be wished away. It’s a big deal and should be celebrated,” Okengwu said. “Of course, it’s going to be creating jobs. The base of our productivity is energy. If we have energy, more industries will work, people can produce more, people can get jobs.”

He cautioned, however, “It is one thing to sign paper, and it is another thing to get the deal off the ground.”

Nigerian officials are also seeking investments in the electricity and rail transport sectors.

Source: VOA News