25 January 2013

Nigeria: Jonathan Rallies Foreign Investors to Back Transformation Agenda

President Goodluck Jonathan has solicited the support of international businessmen for his administration's transformation agenda to enable the Nigerian economy to unleash its potential in order to engender a better living condition for the people.

Jonathan, at a special session of the 2013 World Economic Forum (WEF), which kicked off at Davos, a canton of Switzerland on Wednesday, outlined the investment opportunities that his administration's transformation agenda would avail investors to include the privatisation and commercialisation of the oil and gas sector as well as power supply, communications, transportation and agriculture sectors.

The special session, which involved discussion by participants, comprising presidents and heads of government as well as top businessmen, was titled: 'De-Risking Africa.' It featured Jonathan alongside his South African counterpart Jacob Zuma, among others.

The participants discussed several burning issues affecting the global economy, such as HIV/AIDS, debt crises, rampant unemployment, environmental time bombs, difficult finance and development issues in Africa.

According to a source at the special session, the duo of Jonathan and Zuma focused their parley on how to lead effectively during adversity, restoring economic dynamism and strengthening societal resilience.

Jonathan, who drew global attention to the situation in Mali, explained that terrorists on the African continent are bolstered by the huge returns they get from hostage taking and drugs trafficking.

The president who said the wave of terrorism on the continent was fuelled by the Libyan crisis, told the gathering that terrorists would always want to instigate crises because of the money they make out of them.

"Definitely if you look at the situation in Mali, if it is not contained, it will spill to other West African countries. If the region was made stable, we would not have had those crises in Libya and Mali would have been better than what it is now.

"Before this time, African states were quiet politically unstable. We have had military intervention and where government is not stable and where the political system is not stable, it is a big risk in terms of investment, because laws could be changed arbitrarily.

"Over the period, most of the African states now have stable political systems. Presently, about 33 African states have conducted successful elections two times where one civilian administration has handed over to another. In Nigeria, we have done our elections four times; in the past, we never experienced that.

"In terms of political stability, African countries have been reasonably de-risked because government has become stable and because the political system is stable it also affects economic planning," he said.

The president also met privately with the Prime Ministers of the Netherlands and Norway, the President of Costa Rica and the chief executive officers of Huawei Technologies Company, Total and Coca-Cola Worldwide on the sideline of the WEF.

In his contribution, Zuma noted that Africa is now economically viable and robust as a result of the unity of purpose of its leaders to steer the continent in the right direction.

His words: "We have collectively dealt with the issue of democracy in Africa; we are entrenching democratic rules and we have also dealt with the issue of infrastructure. We are taking our decision to grow our infrastructure and to grow our inter-trade in the five economic regions on the continent," he said.

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