This Day (Lagos)

Africa: 'Nigeria to Remain Continent's Investment Hub'

Due to on-going reforms in the country as well as its strong macroeconomic growth projections, Nigeria will continue to be the hub for investment in Africa, a report by EY, a global professional services firm has stated.

It also noted that the country would likely emerge as one of the most attractive investment destinations in the world in coming years.

Nigeria's inflow of investment of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) since 2003 showed that the country received six per cent of Africa's total FDI for new projects and 11 per cent of capital invested since 2007.

Nigeria has also seen strong compound growth in FDI projects of close to 20 per cent since 2007. Although the average value of projects has declined, this reflects the growing diversification of investment (and the Nigerian economy). However, EY's leader of financial services in West Africa, Mr. Dayo Babatunde, said there is no way investors can ignore emerging markets, especially Nigeria because of its significance.

Babatunde pointed out that emerging markets are 80 per cent of the world's population, adding that they represent 50 per cent of global Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

He said: "So there is no way you can do without emerging markets. Out of these emerging markets, you have the fast-growing emerging markets and part of these we have Nigeria. You can classify the fast-growing emerging markets into three: the frontier markets, the established markets and transitional markets.

"In every 10 black men in the world, you have a Nigerian and that represents 10 per cent of the world black population. So there is no way any investor can ignore this type of environment."

But the West Africa Regional Leader for EY, Mr. Henry Egbiki urged the federal government and other stakeholders to ensure that the growing security risk is suppressed.

"Security is a big issue. No investor wants to put his money in a market, environment or geography where the security is not guaranteed. So I think the government needs to do something about that and I think the government is doing something about that," he added.

Egbiki noted that the World Economic Forum on Africa which commences in Abuja today is an opportunity for the country to showcase its potential. He urged Nigerians to support the federal government's reform agenda.

"The distribution of the country's wealth has not been inclusive and the only way you can make it inclusive is by diversifying the productive base of the economy, invest in the real sector and create jobs to fuel prosperity and tackle poverty. We need to join hands with government to ensure that we have a Nigeria that is conducive. Investment funds are competing for destination and so we need to recognise that and showcase our country, our geography, the potential, the opportunities and other positives sides of the economy to investors. So, we need to do more of that so that we can attract investors," he noted.

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