The German Ambassador to Nigeria, Mrs Annett Gunther, says her country is working to improve the visa issuance process for Nigerians seeking to study in Germany.

Gunther, who said her country is not against Nigerians coming, said already there are no less than 4,000 Nigerians schooling and working in Germany.

Gunther made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Sunday in Abuja.

According to her, the German Academic Exchange Service gives out not less than 1,000 scholarships yearly.

She said that the German government was working on improving visa approvals for intending Nigerian students to Germany.

“At the moment, we have approximately 4,000 Nigerian students in Germany, coming and going in and out of the country and, also engaging in other things.

”I know we are not yet in a position to issue the visas for the students on time, but we are working on that. We are not interested in preventing people from coming to Germany.

”We want them to come. So there is also something to do on our side to improve our capacities on visa issuance,” she said.

She explained that though many courses in Germany were taught in English, it was imperative for international students to have a certain knowledge of the German language.

She said university studies in Germany were either free or not very expensive compared with other countries with English official language.

According to the envoy, there is a keen interest for students to come and study in Germany mainly because German universities are top-class and internationally renowned.

“That is why the German Academic Exchange Service gives out not less than 1,000 scholarships yearly,” she said.

The envoy said that there were many programmes to support German culture and language training in Nigeria, with the most famous being the Deutsche Institute.

She explained that the institute was basically about language courses, and also the corresponding language tests.

”It is a cultural exchange; it is also about scientific cooperation, exhibitions, interaction of artists, music and others.

“Basically, what they do is to interact with Nigerian artists and connect both countries’ artists in the various fields.

“For language training, probably the best known German language is also taught at a number of universities and the German Academic Exchange service,” she said.

According to Gunther, not less than 80,000 Nigerians live and work in Germany and are contributing meaningfully to its economic growth.

“It is also in our interest because our population is shrinking and we are lacking a workforce. We are happy with everybody who comes to support us.

“Most of them have come to work and live in Germany to make a living, to earn money, support their families and also send money home.

”Nigerians have made meaningful contributions in Germany,  just like many other foreigners from other countries,” she said.

Gunther added that the trade relations between Germany and Nigeria stood at about €3bn.

She said, “I think agriculture is a very good area for cooperation, not only because we can help in the area of food security, which is important to Nigeria, but also in improvement of export of processed products.

“Instead of selling more raw products, we will have more value creation within the country to create more jobs.

“As part of our development cooperation, we have a programme in agriculture that also focuses on exactly that value chain, which supports small and medium-sized enterprises in the sector,” she said.