Nigerian Industry,Trade and Investment Minister Urges Incoming Investors


……..As Global Investors Storm Abu Dhabi on Sunday

Story: Mohammed Abu

Ahead of the opening of the Annual Investment Forum (AIM Global 2023), in the UAE’s, capital of Abu Dhabi next week, H.E. Amb. Mariam Yalwaji Katagum, Minister of State Industry, Trade and Investment, Nigeria, urges incoming investors to align themselves with the Ministry’s overall policy thrusts.

The Ministry’s policy thrusts the Minister said, was informed by three thematic areas of focus namely, Domestication of production of key commodities through our Backward Integration Program (BIP); Driving the growth of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), especially through access to finance and markets; and Cultivating Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) particularly through improving the Ease of Doing Business in Nigeria.

Investors who are seeking to come into the country she said, were assured of the protection and promotion of their investments, as the Federal Government of Nigeria is tirelessly working to improve the ease of market entry and doing business processes through the signing of the new Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA) and the yearly revision of the Finance Act.

“Like I always mention, whenever I have the opportunity, Nigeria is the best place to invest in Africa and we look forward to welcoming all of you”, the Minister added.

She was speaking in an exclusive interview with your favourite, Eco-Enviro-News Africa on what are her expectations, what are the benefits her country has made through their participation in the previous editions of the event so far among other things.

Now read on for the rest of what H.E. had to tell your favourite,Eco-Enviro-News Africa magazine

First of all, let me thank you for providing this space, through which to share my perspectives.

Q1. As one of the high-level Africa region VIPs participating in AIM Global 2023, what are your expectations so far as your participation in the event is concerned?

My expectations so far, include the following:

  • Establish contacts and network in key industries of the AfCFTA and Investors. As the Minister of State, Industry, Trade, and Investment in Nigeria, this platform will provide me the veritable opportunity to connect and network with like-minded individuals and potential investors from various sectors and industries.
  • On Investment opportunities: I hope to showcase Nigeria’s investment opportunities to the world for potential investors to explore and identify investment opportunities in Nigeria, as well as learn about investment opportunities in other emerging markets and sectors, to attract more Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) for my country, Nigeria.
  • On knowledge sharing and capacity building: I am confident that from the sessions and workshops on various topics related to investment, innovation, and entrepreneurship, these meetings and sessions will assist me to gain more insights and knowledge on global trends, best practices, and emerging technologies that can help drive economic growth and development in Nigeria.
  • On brand visibility: My participation at this high-level meeting will further help enhance the visibility and reputation of Nigeria as a prime investment destination, as well as showcase the country’s potential and investment opportunities to the global business community.
  • While on partnerships and collaboration: I hope the meeting provides a platform for fostering partnerships and collaborations between governments, businesses, and other key stakeholders and as the Minister, I hope to explore and establish partnerships and collaborations, sign Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) if possible, with other countries and organizations that can help drive economic growth and development in Nigeria.

Q2.    Among West African Countries Nigeria is noted for her passionate participation during a number of major Arab Gulf region hosted events including AIM Global. Would you like to talk about the benefits Nigeria, West Africa region stand to benefit from participating in it?

Yes, I agree with you that Nigeria is passionate in participating in major Arab Gulf hosted events such as AIM Global, because the Federal Government of Nigeria looks forward to every opportunity to strengthen her economic ties, promote investment opportunities, enhance diplomatic relations and learn from the experiences of the other emerging nations. Nigeria believes that events such as this will further bring about significant economic and social benefits for the region.

Notable benefits for both Nigeria and the West Africa region include:

  • Increased investment opportunities: By participating in the event, Nigeria and West Africa can attract more investments from the Gulf region, which can help drive economic growth and development.
  • Enhanced trade relations: Participating in AIM Global can help to enhance trade relations between Nigeria, West Africa, and the Gulf region. By showcasing Nigeria’s potential and investment opportunities, we can attract more Gulf-based companies to invest in Nigeria and also expand our exports to the Gulf region.
  • Knowledge sharing and capacity building: By participating in the Conference Sessions, Nigeria and West Africa can gain insights and knowledge on global trends, best practices, and emerging technologies that can help drive economic growth and development.
  • Partnerships and collaborations: By participating in the event, Nigeria and West Africa can explore and establish partnerships and collaborations with Gulf-based companies and organizations that can help drive economic growth and development in the region, as well as showcase the region’s potential and investment opportunities to the global business community.

Nigeria has an emerging Halal Market. We are therefore looking for partnerships in this regard.

 Q3.    For how long has Nigeria been participating during AIM Global events and what has been the positive impact if any, in terms of Nigeria bound FDI inflows, UAE-Nigeria cross border trade and tourism?

Nigeria has been participating in the Annual Investment Meeting (AIM) for several years. To the best of my knowledge, the event has provided a platform for Nigeria to showcase its investment opportunities and attract Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) from around the world, including the UAE and other Arab Gulf countries.

However, while it is difficult to measure the exact impact of Nigeria’s participation in AIM Global on FDI inflows, Nigeria-UAE cross-border trade, and tourism, there have been some positive developments in recent years.

For example, according to the UNCTAD, FDI inflows from UAE to Nigeria amounted to $1.3billion in 2020, which represents significant increase. The UAE is currently the third–largest source of FDI for Nigeria. This suggests that there has been an increase in trade relations between the two countries, which could be attributed, in part, to Nigeria’s participation in events like AIM Global.

In terms of FDI, Nigeria has been working to attract more foreign investors in recent years, and events like AIM Global provide a platform for showcasing Nigeria’s potential and investment opportunities. According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), FDI inflows to Nigeria increased by 13% in 2019, reaching $3.3 billion, which suggests that Nigeria is making progress in attracting more foreign investments.

As for tourism, it is also difficult to measure the exact impact of Nigeria’s participation in AIM Global. However, it is worth noting that the UAE is a popular tourist destination for Nigerians, and events like AIM Global could help to promote tourism and cultural exchange between the two countries.

Overall, Nigeria’s participation in AIM Global and other similar events provides an opportunity for the country to showcase its investment opportunities and attract more foreign investment, enhance trade relations with other countries, and promote cultural exchange and tourism.

Q4.Lack of direct shipping lines between the Arab Gulf region and West African sub-region has since been identified as a major factor militating against meaningful import and export trade between the two regions. What is your take on that and your advice on how best to mitigate the problem?

The issue of direct shipping lines between West Africa and the Arab Gulf region has been a challenge that has made it more difficult and costly to transport goods between the two regions.

I believe this can be resolved through a combination of policy measures, technology integration and infrastructural development that supports direct shipping especially in West Africa. Collaboration between Government and the private sector and partnership with international originations such as World Bank, IMF and UNCTAD can provide technical assistance and funding to support direct shipping to increase trade between the two regions. This will help to facilitate trade and reduce the cost and time required to transport goods between the two regions.

In addition to establishing direct shipping lines, it is also important to enhance the capacity of existing port infrastructure in both regions to handle larger volumes of cargo and increase efficiency. This will require investments in modern technology, equipment, and personnel training to Improve the speed and efficiency of cargo handling and processing.

In summary, the establishment of direct shipping lines between the Arab Gulf region and the West African sub-region, combined with investments in port infrastructure, and the removal of other trade barriers will go a long way in promoting meaningful import and export trade and enhancing economic growth and development in both regions.

As the Minister of Industry, Trade, and Investment, I am committed to exploring and implementing measures that will enhance trade relations between Nigeria and other West African countries and the Gulf region.

Q5. The UAE has since been rated as second after China in terms of quantum of FDI inflows into Africa region. In the same view, the UAE authorities have also expressed interest in seeing investment inflows from Africa to the UAE in the spirit of enhancing more beneficial win-win relations. What is the cross-border investment status between Nigeria and UAE as of now?

Overall, the cross- border investment relationship between Nigeria and the UAE appears to be improving with both countries seeking to deepen economic ties and explore new investment opportunities. For example, the UAE has invested heavily in Nigeria’s energy sector, with major investments in oil exploration and production, power generation and renewable energy and real estate. On the other hand, Nigerian investors have been increasingly exploring investment opportunities in the UAE, particularly in real estate and hospitality.

Q6.    One will not be far from right to say that; AIM Global is set to offer a suitable platform for seeking investor buy-in to the all-important Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agenda of the AU, what is your take on this?

As Minister of State, Industry, Trade and Investment,I believe that leveraging the AIM Global platform to seek investor buy-in to the AfCFTA agenda of the AU, is an excellent idea.

The AfCFTA is a game changer for the African continent, as it creates a single market for goods and services, with free movement of people and capital and promotes intra African trade. It is a unique opportunity to promote industrialization, economic diversification and job creation in Africa.

Therefore, leveraging on this platform would help to showcase the enormous investment opportunities that the AfCFTA presents to investors from around the world. This will not only attract FDI but, also build partnerships and collaborations with international investors and African businesses, leading to the transfer of technology, skills and knowledge. It will also address the misconceptions and concerns that investors may have about doing business in Africa.

In summary, I support using the AIM platform to promote the AfCFTA agenda and believe that it will help to unlock the full potential of the AfCFTA and promote economic growth and development in Africa.

Closing statement:

I want to thank all the participants, speakers, exhibitors and sponsors who have made the AIM a success. Your contributions and insights have been invaluable and I hope that this event has been a valuable platform for us to achieve our goals. Let us continue to work together to build a brighter future for all. Thank you.

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