Nigeria may witness an investment boom in the agriculture and solid mineral sectors soon if the level of enthusiasm shown so far by foreign investors and development partners in both sectors yield anticipated results. “Their interest is buoyed by the recent successful general elections held in the country, as well as government’s efforts to fix infrastructure, particularly power,” said Roberts Orya, managing director of the Nigerian Export Import (NEXIM) Bank.
The African Development Bank (AfDB), for instance, has accepted to extend up to $200 million line of credit to Nigeria to set up an ECOWAS company, an initiative being championed by NEXIM Bank. The modalities of the credit are still being worked out, BusinessDay learnt.
Orya said his team had been discussing investment deals with some foreign investors and strategic partners to attract investments and capital into the non-oil sector. He added that the level of response at the just-concluded World Economic Forum on Africa in Cape Town was overwhelming.
“People are quite happy with the free and fair elections we just had, which has pushed the rating of the country up. We have been able to sell to investors the investment incentives including the radical reforms in power infrastructure. These are areas that excite potential investors and a lot of people are interested in coming in,” Orya said in an interview with BusinessDay.
The ECOWAS company would help deepen trade, especially in the West African sub-region, which would boost Nigerian exports. The NEXIM Bank MD said some consultants are already working on the project to ensure it takes off soon.
The efforts, he noted, are in line with their vision of becoming the leading Export Development Bank by 2015; and most importantly, being in a position to adequately support the exporters and boost jobs in the country.
“We are deepening trade within the sub-region. We have been trying to see how we can overcome deficiencies in sea transportation. For you to move goods from one member state of the ECOWAS sub-region to the other is a major challenge. For instance, to move goods from here to any port in Ghana, will take you a minimum of 60 days. Under that kind of scenario, you cannot deepen trade. NEXIM has commissioned consultants to carry out a study so that we can set up an ECOWAS company.
“We want to set up that company and get it listed on the viable stock exchanges within the ECOWAS sub-region. We even plan to extend this to the Central African states with time because we seem to have some kind of gaps there too.
“We are excited that the response so far has been very amazing. the private sector organisations, government agencies within the ECOWAS sub-region are waiting for that vehicle to be incorporated so that they can invest. We are only facilitating the process. We have also discussed with the African Export Import Bank (AFREXIM) and they are excited about the initiative. Even some South African entrepreneurs are so interested and if they can come in, that will be good,” he said.
Source: Business Day Online