Ahead of the May date, Nigeria is already set to host the 25th session of the World Economic Forum Africa, Nwanze Okidegbe, chief economic adviser to the president, assured at the weekend.
The WEF Africa event holding in Abuja is a gathering where government hopes to sell Nigeria to global investors.
According to Okidegbe, the government is excited about its hosting while the private sector remains quite optimistic about huge investment opportunities that will accrue to them on account of the event. The conference would be financed by three parties- the government, private sector and WEF.
He told BusinessDay that the Nigeria economic fundamentals are strong and trending upwards and that thoseare some of the major points the government is going to be selling at the WEF event.
According to him, many global captains of industry from over 80 countries are being expected to attend the WEF event in Abuja and will have opportunity to strike deals with the private sector.
ONYINYE NWACHUKWU, Abuja
The chief economic adviser also affirmed that the government sees the hosting of WEF, as an effective economic diplomacy to tell Nigeria’s story and for the whole world to see therefore the great opportunities that abound in the country.
It would be recalled that President Goodluck Jonathan set up a steering committee comprising key government functionaries and leading private sector players and co-chaired by Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, coordinating minister for the economy and minister for finance and
Okidegbe to work out preparations for the event since last year.
As expected, preparation for conferences like WEF is usually huge and intense, and more so as Abuja event it particularly would be the first time any country in West Africa will be hosting the forum.
It is further underpinned by some confidence in the country by an international gathering of elite business, policy and government people who meet yearly to brainstorm on matters of economy and business in Africa and in relation to the world.
Okidegbe said, “Sometimes, when people think of Nigeria, they think of oil. But we have far more that oil. The non-oil sector is even growing far more. There are lots of investment opportunities in manufacturing, infrastructure, agriculture and so on.
“We are going to use the WEF to maximise the benefits by getting both international global and Nigerian companies to get together, share information that will further showcase that Nigeria has a lot of opportunities.
“Investment funds are limited and every country is doing whatever they can to grab a part of it. That is one of the reasons some countries go to road shows and try to woo investors to come.”
The WEF event is holding in Abuja between May 7 and 9, 2014 with the theme, ‘Forging Inclusive Growth, Creating Jobs’.
The forum will be co-chaired by chairman of the Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote, and the chairman of Bharti Enterprises, Sunil Bharti Mittal, who are major private sector players in Africa, among others.
The WEF Africa is not just a regional event but a global one. In the last ten years, it has attracted significant interest and attention from business people and politicians all over the world.