The 24th World Economic Forum (WEF) which is hosted in Nigeria, kicked off today in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory. Nigeria plans to use this forum to showcase the potential business opportunities available in the country, with the aim of attracting investment in certain sectors of the economy.
According to the Minister of finance Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Nigeria has huge investment opportunities in agriculture, manufacturing, with emphasis on consumer goods, in solid minerals as well as the entertainment industry, among others. In terms of solid minerals, Nigeria has more than 33 minerals in commercial quantities which are yet to be exploited.
This forum shall attract more than 13 heads of states and over 1,000 delegates to participate in the forum despite the perceived security challenges. Although, the president, has assured delegates of strict security measures put in place, to ensure a hitch free forum.
Dr Okonjo-Iweala also revealed that many companies that have shown interest in the opportunities in the country, will be attending the forum to discuss with the government. This interest in Nigerian economy has been motivated by positive macro-economic indicators, as well as government initiatives in agriculture, manufacturing, housing, solid minerals and other sectors.
Two foreign investors, UNILEVER and Bloomberg, have already declared their interest to invest 150 million dollars and 250 million dollars, respectively. Blumberg intends to make Nigeria a logistic hub for Africa.
Various investment initiative will be presented at the forum, such as the Grow Africa Initiative which is set up to fund agriculture in the continent. This initiative have been able to raise about N7 billion investments and about half of it will be coming to Nigeria and also the healthcare initiative designed to strengthen access to health care which many of it will be coming to Nigeria. Also, a skills initiative is being launched by WEF, which also aims to introduce a new initiative of Safe Schools being launched by the private sector in Nigeria. The safe schools initiative would target the North-East zone of the country and would be of great benefit to women and girls.
Dr Okonjo-Iweala further noted that Nigeria's economy constituted 76 per cent of the economy of Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). Apart from the ECOWAS economy, Nigeria holds 30 per cent of the economy in sub-Saharan Africa and 21 per cent of Africa's economy. Hence, it is meaningful that the economic forum on Africa is being held in Nigeria.
All things considered, this forum is expected to encourage economic development in Nigeria and Africa. In addition, create opportunity for local and foreign investors in the economy who will in invest in key sectors revealed during the forum.