Nigeria, most attractive investment destination in Africa – BOI, First Bank

MEDIATRACNET

With a population in excess of 200 million and access to market across the continent, Nigeria is the most attractive destination for investment in Africa, economic experts say.

The CEOs of First Bank of Nigeria (FBN), Adesola Adeduntan and Bank of Industry (BoI), Olukayode Pitan, stated this in separate interventions at a Nigeria International Partnership Forum in Paris.

In a paper he presented at the forum, Adeduntan said with the coming into effect of African Continental Free Trade Agreement, investing in Nigeria would give access to market across Africa.

Adeduntan said with the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) of about $500 billion and the projection that Nigerian population would grow from more than 200 million to 450 million people by 2050, the country was an investors’ haven.

Besides, the banker said there was abundance of natural resources, hydrocarbon and other solid minerals deposits in the country.
“Last year, Nigeria recorded the best stock exchange in terms of performance. Lagos, the commercial nerve centre of Nigeria, was ranked as the best city for technology start-ups of the continent, boasting of three of the world’s known telecom companies in the continent.

“Nigeria also attracted about 39 percent of the venture capital investments that came to the continent in 2020,” Adeduntan said.
He noted that agriculture contributed 24 percent to the GDP and engaged 36 percent of the labour force in the country.

“Using a back of the envelope calculation, if every Nigerian spends the sum of N500 daily on food, we are looking at the food sector running into trillions of naira.

“The government, by way of fiscal policies, has also enacted several policies that are creating enabling environment to attract investments in agriculture.

“There is also a renewed focus on industrialization, and the whole essence is that we are building Nigeria to become the hub for manufacturers in the sub-region (West Africa),” he said.

Adeduntan said Nigeria had recorded significant growth in the Ease of Doing Business and there were potential for investment in the ICT sector.

He said government had created some financial institutions that are essentially geared towards providing long term financing to aid foreign and indigenous investors.

The institutions, he said, include Bank of Agriculture, Bank of Industry, Development Bank of Nigeria and the Central Bank of Nigeria.
Speaking in the same vein, the BoI Managing Director, Pitan, said on the average, Africa imported about $594 billion worth of goods and $152 billion in services.

Breaking it down, he said African countries imported about $138 billion of refined petroleum products, $1.7 billion of crude oil, and $18 billion of plastics.

He added that $28 billion of iron and steel; $12 billion of textile; $6.9 billion of sugar; $6.7 billion of rice; $5.7 billion of robber and oil palm respectively.

The banker said Nigeria, being the biggest market in Africa, any smart businessman should look at any of the areas to invest, using Nigeria as the base.

“The BOI is the oldest policy bank with 52 years’ experience, and it is there to support investors who are ready to establish in the country,” he said.

Pitan said the Bank lends money to investors on long term basis with eight to nine percent interest. (NAN)

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