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Nigeria is a leading investment destination for potential and serious investors and the business opportunities are abundant and increasing, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has told German investors.
Osinbajo spoke on Monday, December 10 at the first Nigeria-German Business Dialogue held at the Adlon Kempinski hotel, Berlin, Germany over the weekend. He attended the event as a special guest and used the opportunity to showcase some investment potentials in the country.
According to The Vice President, considering the economic and trading developments in other parts of the world, Nigeria has become an investment destination of choice.
He said there were also increasing economic opportunities in Nigeria because of deliberate actions by the government to diversify the economy and improve the business environment.
While applauding the existing relations between Nigeria and Germany, the vice president said that Nigeria was a natural partner of Germany, which was also the largest economy in the European Union.
“It is encouraging that there are significant economic ties between Nigeria and Germany. Germany is a significant exporter to Nigeria, which is its second largest trading partner in Africa. Recent reports show that German investment in Nigeria contributes as much as 1 billion dollars in turnover annually.
“This is good, but we must agree that there is scope for even deeper collaboration given that Nigeria’s GDP is close to 500 billion dollars.”
On areas investors could tap into, Osinbajo said that agriculture was perhaps one of the best investment opportunities in Nigeria.
“Three years ago we were importing 5 million dollars worth of rice daily; today, we produce locally 10 million metric tonnes of paddy rice annually; and we are importing only two per cent of our rice consumption now.
“Investments in milling capacity has risen astronomically since then, with one investor putting a million tonnes of milling capacity into the market.
“Carlos Farms, a Mexican fruit and vegetable investor, had initially planned to grow bananas and pineapples for export; until he discovered that he was making more money selling his bananas locally at 3 dollars a kilogramme, for what he would have been paid only a dollar per kg in Europe.
“With a substantial percentage of the world’s arable land and over half of that uncultivated, it is becoming clearer that the world will be looking to Africa, and Nigeria in particular, as its food basket.
“Just to take China’s demand alone, China has 27 per cent of the world’s population, but only seven per cent of the world’s arable land for agriculture.
“China needs 2 million tonnes of hybrid Soya beans per annum for livestock feed and vegetable oil. But we have not met that demand.”
The vice president said Sesame seed was also in high demand as about 2m tonnes per annum was the demand from China, Vietnam, Japan and Arab countries.
He said that the demand was largely unmet as China also required over 2.3m tonnes of cassava chips and cassava products for industrial starch and ethanol.
Osinbajo also stressed that Africa had also not been able to meet China’s demand for cocoa.
“How about goat meat? 120,000 carcasses of goat meat are required weekly in different Arab countries.
“There is still a major gap in supply here as well. Most of Vietnam’s demand for over 2.5 million tons of cashew is unmet.
“So, Nigeria’s role as food provider to the world and, especially in the next few decades, is clear. It is difficult not to be tremendously successful as an investor in agriculture in Nigeria.
“At the same time, major business groupings are making serious investments across the agricultural value chain; in rice milling, animal feeds and fertilizer production, amongst other things.”
The vice president also pointed out that diversification of the Nigerian economy was also reflected in the manufacturing sector, in mining and oil and gas.
On the huge investment in the mining sector, Osinbajo said that the sector, which has suffered great neglect with the advent of the oil boom is being revived.
“We are also diversifying within oil”, while adding that Nigeria is already exporting urea since it is producing more than enough for its domestic needs,’’ he said.
The vice president also availed investors of opportunities in the service sector, with particular reference to the hospitality sector and budding tourism industries.
The Chairman of the German-African Business Association, Dr Stefan Liebing, acknowledged the huge investment potential of Nigeria and hoped for improved relations between the two countries.
German companies that attended the dialogue include Airbus Defence and Space; Mota Engil; Petkus Technologies GmbH; Mobisol GmbH; Deutsche Bank AG; KFW; Bundestag; Siemens Nigeria; Commerzbank AG; Deutsche Welle, among others.