Czech Republic has pledged to collaborate and support Nigeria in addressing her present challenges in the education and security sectors of the economy. This is coming at the heels of the plethora of problems bedevilling both sectors.
Nigeria’s minister of Education
The education sector has been plagued with serious and devastating labour unrest due to poor funding by the government and other systemic problems amidst growing insecurity in the country.
Nigeria is the second biggest trade partner of the Czech Republic in Sub-Saharan Africa. In 2011, both countries celebrated 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties. In 2012 the Nigerian Embassy in Prague was reopened to further enhance mutual relations. Although the Czech Republic does not import crude oil from Nigeria, the annual volume of non-oil trade between the two countries currently stands at about $100 million.
Both countries are having regular political consultations based on Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between the Ministries of Foreign Affairs. The Czech’s former Minister of Foreign Affairs Cyril Svoboda and the President Václav Klaus visited Nigeria in 2006 while the Czech Deputy Foreign Minister visited Nigeria in July 2013. Similarly, the Nigerian Senate President Hon. David Mark visited Prague in June 2013.
His Excellency, Mr. Pavel MIKEŠ Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Czech Republic to the Federal Republic of Nigeria who made the pledge while presenting presented at the letters of credence to President Goodluck Jonathan at the State House in Abuja, said Czech education and national security are top priority sectors for cooperation between the two countries.
Mr. Mikeš is an experienced diplomat and Africanist scholar who served as a head of Czech mission in Kinshasa, DRC for 6 years and as a political advisor to the Ambassador of the European Union Delegation to the African Union in Addis Ababa. He speaks fluently Czech, English, French, Amharic and Swahili.
In his response, President Jonathan thanked the envoy for his country’s supportive role to the Nigerian economy, adding that other sectors like energy, transport, telecommunication and agriculture needs investment as well.
Meanwhile, as an industrial country of long tradition, the Czech Republic provides advanced technologies in areas such as food processing, agriculture, water treatment, purification of oil contaminated soil and goods (cars, trucks, tractors, brocade for agbadas) all for competitive prices.
In addition, the Czech Embassy has realised several development projects in Nigeria in recent years. Some of the projects include, drilling of wells supplying Ogoni community with drinking water; installation of a Czech technology – water treatment plant in Delta; donation of Czech mini tractors; donation of computers for the Faculty of Architecture in Port Harcourt and to Government Secondary School in Garki, Abuja; equipment for the biological laboratory in Anambra State; donation of sewing and baking machines and high quality brocades of the Czech producer VEBA Broumov to orphanage in Gwagwalada, Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja.
In 2012, Czech Republic approved humanitarian aid to Nigeria’s victims of floods. To promote its cultural heritage, the Czech Embassy is organising regular cultural events, such as film festival, presentation of Czech musicians and exhibitions. In June 2013 the Embassy presented in cooperation with Jos Repertory Theatre a stage play written by the former Czech President Václav Havel.
Czech Republic is a middle size country in the heart of Europe with stable and peaceful political development. As a traditional industrial country, the Czech Republic has many technologies (e.g. in food processing, agriculture, water treatment, purification of oil contaminated soil) and goods to offer (cars SKODA, trucks TATRA, brocades VEBA, famous Czech beers PILSEN and BUDVAR/BUDWEISER, etc.).