China will continue to be an important partner in Nigeria’s ongoing quest for sustainable growth and development. The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr. Okechukwu Enelamah, stated this on Thursday during a panel discussion at the Second Investing in Africa Forum, which took place September 7-8 in Guangzhou, China.
The Forum, with the theme, ‘Experience Sharing and Investment Promotion, Building Complementarities and Shared Prosperity’, was organized by the Government of China’s Guangdong Province, the China Development Bank, and the World Bank Group, and, according to the organizers, “aims to promote experience sharing between China and Africa and build accelerated investment in Africa.” It brought together senior government and private sector officials from across the African continent, and China, as well as representatives from academia and development finance institutions.
Minister Enelamah, speaking during a special session on Business Promotion, chaired by Mr. Liang Huijiang, Director General of the China Development Bank’s International Finance Department, said that Nigeria is keenly taking advantage of the difficult economic conditions arising from the sharp fall in oil prices, to restructure its economy. “Our principal economic policy direction in Nigeria is to diversify the economy, away from the longstanding traditional reliance on oil exports. We are taking steps to structurally transform the economy, so as to restore growth and create jobs,” he said.
He went on to list some of the steps the government is taking: Strategically aligning monetary, fiscal and structural policies, to engender much-needed investor confidence; Creating a private-sector driven Presidential Council on Ease of Doing Business that will initiate and implement far-reaching business environment reforms; Repositioning the Nigeria Investment Promotion Council to enable it effectively fulfill its core mandate, among others. According to the Minister, the NIPC will provide the needed incentives and ‘aftercare’ services to investors, as well as proactively create regular opportunities for investor engagement.
The Minister highlighted a number of “strategic” sectors for intending and potential investors in Nigeria: Agriculture and Agro-Processing, Automotive, Infrastructure (Roads, Rail, Ports and Power), Real Estate, Pharmaceuticals, and the Digital Economy.
In his closing remarks Dr. Enelamah praised the ongoing Cooperation between the China and Nigeria — on the part of both governments, and also the private sector. “The China miracle is one that provides very many useful lessons from which Nigeria can borrow, and is borrowing. Nigeria will continue to work hard and in close partnership with China for mutual benefit, growth and development,” he said.