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German Govt Hails Edo’s Digitalization Efforts, Expresses Satisfaction Over Efficient Execution of German-Funded Projects

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  5. German Govt Hails Edo’s Digitalization Efforts, Expresses Satisfaction Over Efficient Execution of German-Funded Projects

…as Obaseki extends appreciation to German Govt for unwavering support

By Violet Osatohanmwen Obamwonyi

The German Government has lauded Edo State’s integrated approach to digitalization, expressing satisfaction with the efficient execution of German-funded projects and programs in the state. The commendation was given during a courtesy visit by a German delegation to Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, led by the Head of Development Cooperation at the German Embassy in Nigeria, Susanne Schroeder, on May 29, 2024, at the Edo State Government House, in Benin City.

In his remarks, Governor Obaseki acknowledged the pivotal role the German Government has played in driving positive change across major sectors of the state, noting that the progress achieved through partnership with German agencies, has helped in enhancing the state’s digital infrastructure, creating job opportunities, equipping the people with vocational skills and promoting sustainable development, thereby transforming Edo into a modern, innovative, and economically vibrant region.

According to Obaseki, “We are always excited to have the German Government and its agencies here because you are very special to us and I mean it in every sense of the word. Special because, when I came in 2016, I decided to deal with the challenges of migration. You were the first government to really stand up and come up with concrete programs and support which has seen us through these last seven years.

“I do not see how we possibly could have achieved the results we are celebrating today without you, and you did not only stand up for us but came up with programs through GIZ. You have partnered with us every step of the way.

“I want to thank you very much. Go out and see how we have used the resources you made available to us. I hope you can see as many of those who have benefitted from our relationship with you, and please do not forget to see the MOWAA project, quite a bit of your money is there.”

The Governor appreciated the German Cooperation’s support in curbing the persistent rise in irregular migration, noting that the initiatives funded by the German Government have been instrumental in providing sustainable solutions and opportunities for the people of the state, thereby addressing one of the state’s most pressing challenges.

Obaseki said: “First was the mindset we were able to change with the programs you have put in place. So today, nobody wants to travel because they now see opportunities here. Also, the way we have implemented the programs have been real and practical; go to the Innovation Hub today and see the programs we are running with the young people and the source of livelihood it is creating and the career paths being carved out; it is real.

“One of the things we took away when we visited Germany was how your educational system supports job creation and that is one of the things we are doing with our own educational system in Edo today, in addition to the values of excellence and efficiency.”

While making a case for continuous and sustainable collaboration between Edo and Germany, Obaseki proposed several strategic initiatives including creating pathways for regular migration, introducing language programs, providing markets to showcase local skills and initiating specific programs targeted at women, stressing that the measures, if put in place, would further bolster the successes achieved through German-funded projects and ensure sustainable development and empowerment for citizens of the state.

“When we look back at the successes we have achieved, it has been possible largely because of you and we want to thank you for it and say that at this critical junction we still need your support, particularly in terms of policy direction, and where to go next.

“I am going to be leaving in a few months’ time, so I am saying what is the future? We have built the foundation, we have first solved the infrastructure required to carry out our programs, we have some of the programs very well detailed, and we have trained thousands. We now need to create a market for them to sustain them both locally and internationally. We must also take advantage of the bilateral relationships and arrangements we have. We have young men and women who can provide technological services to Germany from here; areas like health services are areas we should look at exploring.

“We must also rethink migration. Yes, we can be able to deal with it now but I think a much more sustainable way is to be able to create pathways for regular migration. I am very excited about the language school but we want to expand it; thank God for technology that makes learning languages much easier. We would like to put a language program in our School of Health Technology, School of Nursing, areas we know will require migration services.

“We still believe that women are still vulnerable and should be given special attention in all the things we do. I would like us to specifically look at resettlement programs and gender-based programs. Fortunately, we have built the infrastructure, I would like for you to go see the Daisy Danjuma Center for Women. We need to look for how we can make some of these programs exclusive or directed or focused on women and young girls. This is my request to you”, Obaseki said.

Earlier in her address, Susanne Schroeder, Head of Development Cooperation at the German Embassy in Nigeria, emphasized that the purpose of the visit was to review ongoing projects implemented in collaboration with Edo State Government. She provided positive feedback on the projects executed under the Obaseki-led administration, noting that the successful synergy between Edo State and German agencies, which has resulted in substantial advancements in technology, education, and public services, was possible as a result of the state government’s commitment to the successful implementation of German-supported initiatives.

She added that the Cooperation promises further growth and development, which would benefit the citizens of Edo State and strengthen the ties between Nigeria and Germany.

According to Schroeder, “Your Excellency, thank you for having us today; it is a great honor to meet you in person, as this is my first visit to Benin City after three attempts. I have a delegation here from Germany, GIZ, the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development who are here for consultation with ECOWAS as well as Nigeria.

“The Senior policy officer responsible for Nigeria wanted to visit Benin City to see not only the place but also the projects that we are implementing here in cooperation with your administration and that is the purpose of her visit. I am looking forward to what you are implementing here and to further exchange with your administration.”

She added: “We had dinner yesterday, where the Commissioner for Arts, Culture and Tourism and the honorable Commissioner for Digital Economy and other members of government, had a very fruitful exchange on what is going on here in Edo State.

“And I must say I am impressed by what you have achieved in your tenure, especially in the way of digitalization and it reminded me of Rwanda which I visited a few months ago. I always feel that Rwanda is a model of what can be achieved if digitalization is done properly.

“Thank you so much for your support and the support of the Commissioners and the rest of your team to our colleagues at the GIZ. Without it, they would not have achieved anything.”

Also in attendance were; Edo State Commissioner for Arts, Culture, Tourism and Diaspora Affairs, Uyi Oduwa-Malaka; Commissioner for Communication and Orientation, Chris Nehikhare; Managing Director, Edo State Skills Development Agency, Violet Obiokoro, among others.

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