Monday, August 31, 2009

Change of Baton at the Austrian Commercial Office, Lagos, Nigeria

It was five years ago that Dr Albrecht Zimburg arrived Lagos, Nigeria as the Commercial Counsellor of the Austrian Embassy and charged with the Herculean responsibility of overseeing the commercial concerns of Austria in several parts of Africa, with Lagos, Nigeria as the outpost.

If we go by the number of persons that turned up at the send forth party and the reactions received from the invitees, it would be safe to conclude that Dr Zimburg came, saw and conquered.It is incumbent to note that during his tenure in office as the Commercial Counsellor, Austria-Nigeria trade volume rose astronomically.

He would be missed by many Nigerian business people such as Dr Olu Adeleye of Daid Group of Companies, Engineer Olu Okunriboyo and Najim Atallah of Arbitech Nigeria Limited amongst others that saw him as their mouthpiece to reach their prospective business partners in Austria.

The business community present at the reception/send forth party was taken by the enthusiasm of the new Commercial Counsellor, Mr. Sigmund Nemeti. He has come to Nigeria with lots of experience having served in other countries including South Africa. He assured guests present that he would continue from where his predecessor stopped and would take Austria-Nigerian trade relationship to even greater heights.

Austrian companies are expected to play significant roles in the Nigerian economy particularly in the areas of renewable energy, construction of quick fix bridges, airport towers, medical technology and engagement in financial services as foreign direct investors. Further, as the tourism sector develops, stakeholders would benefit immensely from Vienna experience as Austria’s cultural and convention city.

Some of the ways Nigeria-Austria tie can be further strengthened include:

a. Set up of a bilateral chamber of commerce or trade association a. Encouragement of trade visits, fairs and exhibitions

b. Establishment of twin cities to facilitate cultural exchange

c. Further encouragement of the learning of German language in Nigeria

d. Identification of areas of comparative advantage and the support of its development.

e. Encouragement of more Austrians to visit Oshogbo Shrine in Osun State (and other parts of Nigeria) as a means to opening the tourism gateway to Nigeria, which would eventually translate to more business as cultural barriers collapse.

We wish Mr Sigmund Nemeti a happy stay in Nigeria, the land with limitless opportunities!

Ndudi Osakwe
Infoplus/IBG Nigeria

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