Nigeria maintained its position as one of the top three destinations for Foreign Direct Investment in Africa, despite current challenges, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) has said.
UNCTAD said this just as the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) gave its nod, in Vienna, yesterday, for the establishment of an Investment and Technology Promotion Office (ITPO) in Nigeria.
According to the latest UNCTAD report, FDI inflows into Africa rose by four per cent to $57 billion with Nigeria's inflow standing at N5.6 billion in 2013. The report said only seven countries in Africa went above the $3 billion FDI inflow point. They are Nigeria, South Africa, Mozambique, Egypt, Morocco, Ghana and Sudan.
The Commissioner for Industry and Private Sector Promotion, ECOWAS, Mr. Kalilou Traore, who spoke during the UNIDO forum on strategies and instruments for inclusive and sustainable industrial development, said the recently launched Nigeria Industrial Revolution Plan was a model for Africa, noting that foreign investments would always thrive in the right environment.
The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr. Olusegun Aganga, who also acknowledged the massive investment by Nigerian companies in the country despite the current challenges, noted that the ITPO would help to promote Nigeria's local and foreign direct investment and technology, in addition to boosting job creation, technology transfer and industrial development.
The minister said, "There are only a few countries in the world where UNIDO has set up ITPO to promote investment into the area of technology. The establishment of the ITPO in Nigeria will not only have a big positive impact on the Nigerian economy, it will also help in the innovation of the industrial sector.
"UNIDO has bought into the NIRP and adopted Nigeria as one of the two countries in Africa that they want to work with for the realisation of Nigeria and indeed Africa's industrialisation goals. This is the first time that UNIDO will be doing this under the leadership of the new director general."
The Director-General, UNIDO, Mr. Li Yong, said the NIRP would play a critical role towards the realisation of Nigeria's inclusive and sustainable economic transformation through industrialisation.
He said: "UNIDO sees the Nigeria Industrial Revolution Plan as a very important strategy for the country to achieve inclusive and sustainable industrialisation and economic transformation.
"I always remember the very strong statement made by President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria that industrialisation is the anchor of the transformation of the Nigerian economy."
In his remarks, the Nigerian Ambassador and Permanent Representative to Austria, Mr. Abel Ayoko, said the launch of the Nigeria Industrial Revolution Plan by President Jonathan, had helped to significantly enhance the positive image of the country within the comity of nations.
He noted that it was not surprising that Nigeria, in spite of "what people call our challenges", has maintained its top position in terms of FDI inflow.
Ayoko added: "Since the visit of the director general of UNIDO to Nigeria a few months ago, where he was briefed in details about the NIRP, the DG has been telling my colleagues at the United Nations House in Vienna, that Nigeria is on top of an Industrial Revolution which is an integral part of President Goodluck Jonathan's Transformation Agenda. Here at the UN House, they are all excited about the NIRP and what Nigeria is doing."
"In fact, for us as a country, this is the best time as far industrialisation is concerned. This is why UNIDO has keyed in to support Nigeria and we are all excited about this positive development," he said.