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 process 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 and 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 in Nigeria because of the advantage of the country’s huge population.
According to Oschmann, Merck’s business range spans healthcare, 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.

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