New Telegraph

Sustaining Nigeria’s investment leadership in Africa

Despite the present economic challenges in Nigeria, many African countries still look onto Nigeria as the country with the capacity to provide leadership in investments.

They hinged their optimism to the fact that the country has the human and natural resources to sustain its leadership position in the continent. Marie-Jeanne Ntakirutimana, Ambassador of Burundi to Nigeria, while speaking recently on “Burundi as the Heart of Africa,” on the sideline of the country’s 60th independence anniversary, called on potential investors to invest in Burundi’s agriculture, mining and other sectors.

The envoy described Burundi as a free country, where dreams could be achieved regardless of gender, political ideologies and religious beliefs. Ntakirutimana said: “Burundi wants to develop her agriculture sector and, I tell you, we have many kinds of produce. We do not have industries to transform them. “We have cassava, we need processing industry to preserve them for a long time; that is why we need a lot of investors in agriculture.

 

“We also need cement factories. Dangote cement is imported through Zambia, it is a very big cost. If the industry is implanted in Burundi, it will be good luck to us.”

 

Similarly, Dr Benson Alfred Bana, Tanzanian High Commissioner to Nigeria, urged Nigerian investors and businesses to consider investing in Tanzania, whose GDP was projected to grow by 5.8 per cent in 2022. Bana spoke at the Nigeria-Tanzania Business Forum organised by Tanzanian High Commission and  Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI).

 

He said that Tanzania remained a choice destination for investments due to its unprecedented political stability and peaceful transfer of power via credible, free and fair elections with almost zero cases of insecurity. He said that notwithstanding the impact of COVID-19, the country’s GDP was projected to grow at 4.7 per cent in 2021 and 5.8 per cent by 2022.

Bana said: “Tanzania is in the process of introducing direct flights from Dar es Salaam to Lagos, to significantly ease movement of goods, capital and services between the two countries. “Tanzania is aiming to become an industrialised economy and logistics hub by 2025, and in the spirit of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), we want to see Nigeria join the league of leading investors in the country,” he said.

 

Also, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, President, Dangote Group, represented by Mr Mansur Ahmed, President, Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), said that the potential for investment growth over the next 50 years across the world was in Africa, particularly Nigeria.

 

According to the business mogul, Africa has the highest level of resources, population structure and a technology framework  that supported investments and growth over a long period. “Our philosophy for investing in Africa is to build capacity, capability and a business that understands the African market,” Dangote said.

The President of LCCI, Mrs Toki Mabogunje, who spoke, stressed the need to sustain Nigeria’s leadership position on investment in Africa economic growth. According to her, the status as the continent’s biggest economy and most populous nation presented numerous opportunities for various African country investors to willingly establish bilateral cooperation with Nigeria. “More so, Nigeria’s near and medium-term economic prospects are quite bright with the International Monetary Fund projecting a growth rate of 2.5 per cent and 2.3 per cent in 2021 and 2022, respectively.

 

“African countries need to do more business with one another, as this will advance the economic fortunes of the continent, and as a chamber, we reiterate our commitment to the promotion of trade and investments between Nigeria and other countries,” Mabogunje said. Dr Eromonsele Idahosa, the Chairman, Board of Nigerians in Diaspora Organisation-Americas (NIDO), U.S. chapter, urged compatriots to always dedicate themselves to investment goals  that could sustain Nigeria’s leadership in Africa.

NIDO’s set goals include engaging Nigerian community associations in Diaspora, contributing to nation building through finance and expertise, as well as to provide a platform for members to participate in governance and industrial development of Nigeria.

 

Idahosa said: “Although Nigeria is confronted with an existential crisis; we have a lot of work to do. “We invite other partners and stakeholders in the Nigerian project to join in carrying out this enormous task; this is not the time for cynicism and negativity.”

Meanwhile, the Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Mr Clem Agba, represented by Dr Philip Ugbodaga, his special assistant, at the first edition of the Europe Open Day celebration, explained that besides being Africa’s most populous country, Nigeria remains Africa’s largest economy, in spite of COVID-19 challenges. Agba said: “We have an estimated population of more than 200 million, which is expected to grow to more than 400 million by the year 2050, and to become the third most populous country in the world after China and India.

 

“Government is doing this by vigorously pursuing special policies aimed at creating opportunities and avenues that can empower youths to contribute meaningfully to their communities and to the country. “The World Bank in a report some time ago stated that 74 per cent of the global youth population aged between 18 to 23 would be majorly in Nigeria and nine other countries over a period of 10 years from 2015 to 2025.”

 

He assured that government would improve existing bilateral ties with other African countries, to achieve meaningful growth. Given the important leadership role Nigeria had played in the investment drive across the continent, analysts agreed that for the country to sustain its leading role, it must prioritise trade and investment cooperation across Africa.

NAN

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