Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari and African Development Bank Group President Akinwumi Adesina urged on Thursday global businesses and leaders to boldly invest in Nigeria.
The two leaders and several others from the private, public, investment, and donor community, spoke at this year’s Nigeria International Economic Partnership Forum in New York, the two leaders reassured participants that despite challenges, the country is still an investment destination of choice.
The Nigerian government and the African Business Roundtable organized the event on the sidelines of the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly. The Nigerian president was represented by his Chief of Staff Prof. Ibrahim Gambari.
“Overall, the Nigerian economy is ripe for increased investment,” President Buhari said as he highlighted his government’s measures to tackle insecurity and improve the country’s business climate.
“Our administration has put in much investment in improving security, and we are committed to doing much more. We will continue to give all necessary support to our security outfits to ensure they can tackle the challenge headlong.”
Speaking about the security situation in Nigeria, the African Development Bank head said, “To attract greater foreign direct investment to Nigeria, we must fix the security situation. Capital does not like to be troubled. Ultimately, investment capital must be made comfortable. Only then can it be attracted. With the right conditions in place, we can confidently say Nigeria is a great investment destination.”
Dr. Adesina said even though Nigeria faces several challenges, “the country remains an attractive investment destination.”
Beyond security challenges, President Buhari highlighted initiatives his government is undertaking to enhance the country’s economic development including intensifying policy reforms, bolstering governance, and encouraging public-private investments in social, human, and physical infrastructure.
“Nigeria could be the fastest growing African economy by 2050 and could move up the global GDP ratings to 14th in the same year, provided we succeed in our efforts to diversify the economy away from oil and strengthen its institutions and infrastructure,” President Buhari said, echoing PricewaterhouseCoopers projections. He added, “Of course, we are already committed to diversifying the economy and are already enjoying significant results.”
President Buhari also cited the new Integrated National Financing Strategy for enhancing the impact of development finance and expanding the country’s ability to finance its Sustainable Development Goals. The private sector is expected to play a significant role in driving the strategy.
The Nigerian leader noted that the war in Ukraine and the lingering impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic had affected Nigeria’s growth.
Adesina described Nigeria as an ‘investors’ dream with a strong market pull, rapidly growing middle class, and burgeoning youth that can create demand and spark and spur entrepreneurship.
The bank president said: “Investors must recognize this and invest. That’s why the African Development Bank, together with the Islamic Development Bank and the French Development Agency, is investing $618 million in the Digital and Creative Enterprises Program in Nigeria. The program will support the creation of 225 creative start-ups and 451 digital technologies for small and medium-sized enterprises. They will create 6.1 million jobs and add $6.4 billion to the economy.”
Adesina said to help the country unlock its vast agricultural potential, the African Development Bank, the International Fund for Agricultural Development, and the Islamic Development Bank have provided $540 million to develop special agro-industrial processing zones in the country.
The funding will strengthen Nigeria’s food and agribusiness value chains and increase its competitiveness. “That is the power of international partnerships working for Nigeria,” the Bank president said.
Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation, has launched a National Development Plan (2021-2025) to generate 21 million full-time jobs and lift 35 million people out of poverty by 2025. To achieve this, the country requires an investment commitment of about 348 trillion naira (about $809 billion) which will heavily depend on strong partnerships between the private and public sectors.
Emeka Anuforo, Communication and External Relations Department, firstname.lastname@example.org
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