Home Economy Nigeria showcases opportunities during country day at IATF, highlights digital economy

Nigeria showcases opportunities during country day at IATF, highlights digital economy

by Business News Report

Nigeria hosted its Country Day at the inaugural Intra-African Trade Fair (IATF) taking place in Cairo, with the Nigerian Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, leading a tour of the Nigeria pavilion and exhibition and delivering a keynote address at the IATF 2018 Conference.,The Country Day feature allows the host country to showcase and promote its trade and investment offerings across all sectors and industries, with a key focus on key sectors, investment and project funding opportunities.

Among those accompanying the vice president were Olusegun Awolowo, CEO of the Nigerian Export Promotion Council; Muhammadu Badaru, Governor of Jigawa State, Nigeria; and Dr. Okechukwu Enelamah, Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment of Nigeria. In his address, Prof Osinbajo said, “Nigeria places a high premium on the economic integration of the continent and has come to the IATF with a delegation that represents a wide variety of industries and goods, showcasing the rich diversity of the country”.

He highlighted Nigeria’s advanced digital economy as a central point in the Country Day themed “Harnessing the Digital Economy for Inclusive Growth Through Trade” and said that Nigeria’s digital economy was one of the fastest growing in Africa, with the technology sector contributing 9 per cent of the nation’s GDP. The vice president also lauded the country’s growing entertainment sector, noting that Nigeria’s film industry, Nollywood, was the third largest film industry in the world, generating an impressive $600 million annually and being a critical employment generator in the country.

The Nigeria Day opening ceremony was concluded with the signing of an agreement between Afreximbank and Nigeria for the Nigeria-Africa Trade and Investment Promotion Programme valued at $1 billion. Throughout the day, trade fair visitors and IATF participants visited the Nigerian pavilion and exhibition and were exposed to the country’s trade and investment opportunities as well as the country’s rich and diverse culture. The day’s events were brought to a close with a Nigeria Day celebration that featured performances by IATF 2018 ambassador DBanj and other acts from across the continent.

Speaking at the IATF Conference, Prof. Osinbajo said that the IATF was an extra-special event for Nigeria as it gave the country the opportunity to showcase its trade potentials and to reach new markets. He said that the Nigerian government had instituted a business-friendly climate in the country by updating policies which made it easier to invest and do business. He touted the Nigerian digital and entertainment industries as key areas where the country was excelling and which offered export potential

Also speaking, Prof. Benedict Oramah, President of Afreximbank, said that Nigeria had become the most important source of investment for the rest of Africa and that the diversity of goods on display at the Nigerian pavilion at the IATF showed the tremendous progress the country had made over the last two to three decades. “We have seen a rapid emergence of major corporates and multinationals in Nigeria that are transmitting positive effects to the rest of the continent,” said Prof Oramah. “The Nigerian entertainment industry today is the third largest behind U.S.’s Hollywood and India’s Bollywood; Nigerian banks have subsidiaries in no less than 20 African countries; Dangote Cement now has investments in several countries. Nigeria’s creative industry is rapidly expanding and making inroads into other African and non-African markets.” He said that Afreximbank had been a faithful partner to the Government and private sector in Nigeria, noting that, for a very long time, the country had been the largest recipient of Afreximbank`s facilities, with the total commitments during the last two decades exceeding $17 billion.

According to the President, the Bank’s current exposure to Nigeria stands at over $4 billion, with deals worth over $10 billion in the pipeline. He announced that Afreximbank was pursuing a number of strategic initiatives that would contribute to transforming the structure of the Nigerian economy, including working with the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment to develop industrial parks and export processing zones to support the growth of SMEs and major corporates in the textiles and auto industries; developing an internationally accredited testing, inspection and certification centre for food and manufactured goods; and establishing centres of excellence for tertiary health care to make Nigeria the destination of medical tourists from Africa and the rest of the world. The IATF, which opened on Tuesday, is organised by Afreximbank, in collaboration with the African Union, and hosted by the Government of Egypt. It will last until 17 December and is expected to attract about 70,000 visitors. Transactions worth about $25 billion are expected to be concluded at the IATF which has almost 1,100 registered exhibitors from 42 countries.

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