Bayer returns to Nigeria, floats new firm
AFTER 22 years of divesting from Nigeria’s economy, the German global conglomerate – Bayer AG—has returned to the country, with a pledge to partner with the Federal Government to enhance the nation’s investment profile, on a sustainable basis.
For effect, the multinational, last week, formally launched Bayer Middle Africa Limited (BMA) in Lagos, with the Nigerian arm headquartered in the former Federal Capital city.
BMA has already staked interest in establishing office in Ivory Coast, beside 11 other African countries where Bayer Group has commenced operations.
Speaking at the launch of BMA in Lagos, Bayer Group’s member of the Board of Management, Michael Konig said the conglomerate is now set to build world-class facilities in Nigeria and other African countries for its operations in the region.
He described Nigeria in particular and Africa in general as the preferred investment destinations for investors that desire to have a strong foothold in the emerging markets.
Konig explained that ‘‘as Africa is an important part of the group’s strategy, it was decided that the company should have a more direct presence in the priority markets on the continent.
‘‘In 2014, under the region of West-Central Africa, we established two new legal entities here in Lagos, Nigeria and Abidjan, Ivory Coast.
‘‘In East Africa, we have set up a new legal entity in Tanzania and a representative office in Ethiopia. Together with the companies in Morocco, Kenya and South Africa as hubs for the Bayer country groups in North, East and Southern Africa, we now have the infrastructure in place to make this increased footprint a reality.”
He added that Africa economies in Africa are “experiencing robust development, as the African GDP growth rate has been over five per cent for many years. And the West Central Africa region is no exception with mid-to-high single digit GDP growth in 2014.
‘‘This development is reflected in all of Bayer’s industries. Indeed, in 2015, sales of the country group are expected to show a growth rate well above market. It is our long-term commitment to promote growth in the region and the new legal entities will give our businesses the foundations on which to develop and prosper.”
According to Konig, the West-Central Africa region is today ‘‘not only one of the most dynamic in which Bayer operates, but also a very diverse one. It covers 24 countries and is home to more than 400 million people, speaking more than 1,500 languages.
‘‘Demographics are characterised by strong population growth, with a large proportion of young people and a growing middle class. To supply these markets better, we need customised products and solution offerings. We are convinced that our mission ‘Science for a Better Life’ and our product portfolio addresses precisely the needs of Africa.”
Konig told his audience, which included top government officials and private sector operators that the new outfit would exploit potentials in Nigeria and other African countries to promote opportunities in various sectors of the economies.
Beside healthcare and the sciences, he said the group has identified opportunities in the fields of agriculture and nutrition, with assessed increasing demand for reliable and quality food supply as the continent has enormous potential with vast areas of land available for cultivation.
“Bayer wants to help realise this potential with its crop protection and seeds products, and these are being adapted to the needs of the small farmers who characterize African agriculture.
‘‘In addition to its products, Bayer Crop Science also works together with small, local farmers to establish innovative business models. The Bayer Food Chain Partnership programme offers optimized crop solutions, which are tailored to the entire food chain, from the farmers to the exporters through to the processors, and finally the retailers.
‘‘Bayer is working in such partnership with cocoa farmers in the Ivory Coast and in Ghana. Crop Science is also engaged bringing innovative rice and cotton traits to the West Central Africa region.
‘Indeed, the more I learn about the challenges in the region, the more I am convinced that through Bayer’s research and innovative products we can contribute significantly to improving the daily lives of people throughout Africa”, Konig said.