Ahead of the UK Africa Investment summit, (AIS), slated to take place in London on Monday, January 20, 2020, the British High Commission, hosted a round table event, on Monday, January 13, 2020, at its residence in Lagos.
The event was organized to ensure that, the objective of attending the London summit, is successful and produce desired results. Different speakers shared their thoughts, on how the UK and Nigeria can increase investment.
Delivering the opening remark, Harriet Thompson, British Deputy High Commissioner, said that the UK Africa Investment summit is a continent-wide event, with an objective, to boost investment, help create the economic growth that Nigeria needs, to bring people out of poverty and to help Nigeria to realise its enormous potentials.
According to Harriet, Nigeria has emerged from recession, but economic growth is, still too low at 2.28%. Proper direct investment can help, to drive economic growth, using resources, technology and information.
“Though there are signs that FDI increased in 2019, but Nigeria needs to create 4.5 million jobs, each year and that number is, only going to get value, at that scale, by the private sector, in agriculture, services and manufacturing”, Harriet stated.
“An investor needs a lot of infrastructures and this is their biggest obstacle, in doing business, in Nigeria. Infrastructure needs more FDI.
Despite the challenges that Nigeria and Africa face, there are businesses here that, are in their decades, as well as, new businesses coming up. from the UK.
The UK Africa investment summit offers Nigeria to around 300 UK businesses, including our top companies, as well as, the ones across the continent of Africa”, Harriet further stated.
“It’s Nigeria’s time, to tell what the country is all about. The scale of commercial opportunities, the government’s commitment to improving the business environment.
The UK government will announce ways to partner with Nigeria, for economic growth and job creation”, expressed Harriet.
On why the summit is holding, Harriet explained that UK wants to be Africa’s partner of choice, for a high quality investment. The surge in investment, to get sustainable, support African development and create jobs.
The summit is a milestone towards that ambition, bringing together businesses, UK and African, govt and internal institutions, to showcase and promote the quality and investment opportunities.
Speaking at the media briefing too, Chris Pycroft, Head of Department for International Development, (DFID), Nigeria office said, the UK African investment summit is, going to be a real high peak event, bringing together representatives from government, 21 different representatives from African govt, with a whole range of businesses, to focus on prosperity, job growth, investment, trading and manufacturing.
According to Chris, this is the first major event, for the new UK government, to see that private sector development and growth is, absolutely, critical for poverty reduction.
“Nigeria has the largest population in Africa, rapid stenographic growth, the largest economy in Africa, nevertheless, it has the largest population of poor people in Africa.
Development assistance from DFID and other agencies, won’t lift Nigeria, out of poverty. There is, a critical role to be played, by the private sector and this is being acknowledged at this summit”, Chris stressed.
According to Chris, after the UK Africa Summit, the DFID, will invest over 200 million pounds into prosperity, microeconomic reforms and private sector growth and development initiative.
“How the UK is, already and supporting Nigeria, through the private sector, out of poverty. We have a major infrastructure program, which is, also, going to be central to the UK African investment summit.
We are working in the agricultural sector and a large proportion of Nigeria’s employed people, work in this sector, but there are real ways, this sector can be improved, through innovation, technology, infrastructural development, so, as to employ more people, on increase export capabilities, for the Nigerian market”, concluded Chris.
Yewande Sadiku, CEO, Nigeria Investment Promotion Commission, (NIPC), launched the “Nigeria Investment Guide”, with the aim of giving perspectives, to the investment process, in Nigeria.
Daniel Bloch, CEO, Sesoglobal, a fintech company, shared his thoughts, on the business landscape in Nigeria, in relation to financial technology, Lolade Oresanwo, CEO, WestAfricaENRG, also, shared her thoughts, on what the summit would bring, from the perspective of energy. Andrew Nevin, Chief Economist, PWC Nigeria, concluded by emphasizing, on the role of the private sector, in the development of Nigeria’s economy.
L-R: Lolade Oresanwo, CEO, WestAfricaENRG; Andrew Nevin, Chief Economist, PWC Nigeria; Chris Pycroft, Head of Department for International Development, (DFID), Nigeria; Harriet Thompson, British Deputy High Commissioner; Yewande Sadiku, CEO, Nigeria Investment Promotion Commission, (NIPC); Daniel Bloch, CEO, Seso global
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