Tuesday, 3 December 2013
The Federal Government has appealed to investors in Spain to take advantage of the current political stability in the country and its huge market potentials.
Nigeria’s Ambassador to Spain, Mrs Bianca Odumegwu-Ojukwu, who made this appeal yesterday in her welcome address at the maiden edition of the Nigeria-Spain Business and Investment Forum (NIMAD 2003) holding at Hotel Auditorium, Madrid, said that the country remained the number one investment destination in Africa.
Justifying her call to investors, she said: “The country is politically stable with a population estimated at 170 million, thus making it Africa´s biggest market.
It is estimated that about 70 per cent of Nigeria’s population is within the 16 to 45 age bracket. The country currently has an annual GDP growth rate of seven per cent and accounts for 18 per cent of Africa’s GDP.
“Over the last 10 years, Nigeria has been the largest recipient of FDI on the African continent, with a vibrant labour force”, she said.
The ambassador also told the investors that the Jonathan administration had put in place appropriate enabling environment through his Transformation Agenda to promote foreign investment.
“I am happy to note that these measures are beginning to yield the desired results, especially in such key sectors as energy, agriculture and transformation,” she said.
Mrs Odumegwu-Ojukwu, therefore, said that the theme of the forum: “Translating market opportunities into robust trade”, would be apt if the huge investment opportunities in the country are properly harnessed and translated into robust trade for the benefits of the two countries.
“We have observed that Spain is yet to make significant investment inroads into Nigeria. Our desire through NIMAD 2013, therefore, is to change this situation,” she said.
In his goodwill message at the three-day forum, Ekiti State Governor Kayode Fayemi told the Spanish investors that economic fundamentals in Nigeria have continued to be strong and favourable, particularly as the population of the country continues to grow.
“Nigeria is the largest black population in the world. Evidences abound that the global economy players have begun to position themselves to partake in the growth potential in Nigeria,” the governor said, adding that Foreign Direct Investment into Nigeria shut up in 2012 and 2013.
Earlier, a Spanish investor, Mr Jose Julio of Africa Factor Humano, had pointed out that his colleagues were afraid of Africa and Nigeria because of violence and insecurity. According to him, most reports they get from Nigeria are on the negative side, making their potential investors to be skeptical.
He said that the NIMAD forum should be sustained so as to change the perception of their people about Nigeria.