7 May 2014

Nigeria: WEF - a Needed Vote for Nigeria


FOR the world to come to Abuja at this point is a huge vote of confidence that should create some relief from the tensions that insecurity has imposed in the past couple of years. The benefits of the World Economic Forum, WEF, that begins today, stretche further than the businesses that it could sprout for Nigeria.

Many investors have heard earfuls about Africa's largest economy; this WEF event is a great opportunity for them to have a feel of the country that should be any investor's delight with its abundance of natural resources.

We welcome the world to Abuja, one of Africa's most modern cities, and enjoin the delegates to relish the city as they crack the challenging economic questions that burden the continent.

The focus of the summit on Africa is a welcome development. The choice of Nigeria to host the event is in recognition of Nigeria's importance to Africa and the imperatives of paying attention to a continent whose resources are still being explored without majority of the people benefitting from them.

Africa has challenges. There is no doubt that most of them could be addressed with investments in areas that would generate new capacities for the peoples of the continent. We are in an era when investments are driven by too many factors that tend to exclude Africa, which now faces the additional challenges of security and weak capacities in sectors that should drive its economies.

WEF is a platform for the world to see bits of Africa in Abuja. The presentations, the atmosphere, mirror the enthusiasm of the continent to benefit from the synergy that international partnerships could generate. There would be abundance of ideas and ideals at the meeting that runs until Friday. The results would take years of more formal, less crowded meetings to materialise into those businesses and wealth creating opportunities that Africans anticipate.

For Nigerians, the pains of the meeting are evident in the shutdown of Abuja. Security has been intensified, the long public holiday and the searches that are conducted on vehicles are some of the inconveniences of hosting the world to this great forum.

The pains would be worth it, the joys of seeing changes the WEF would bring to the continent would easily take care of today's sufferings.

As Africa looks up to the economic opportunities that the world would be offering, the biggest outcomes of the meetings would be from Africans finding ways of establishing businesses that are rooted in Africa and in African understanding.

There is a limit to how the world would help us, if we do not help ourselves. WEF Abuja is a challenge to Africans to build Africa.

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