President Muhammadu Buhari has said Nigeria is ready to partner with and support willing private investors in the agriculture sector by creating an environment that is stable, safe, and competitive. “I am pleased to note that Coca Cola has recently invested substantially in one of Nigeria’s best-known dairy and fruit juice companies, and is looking to increase its stake over the next few years,” he stated.
The President stated this when he addressed the US/Africa business forum on the sidelines of the ongoing UN General Assembly in New York.
In the mining industry, he said that his administration is determined to build a world class minerals and mining ecosystem designed to serve a targeted domestic and export market, adding that the country’s digital economy also holds huge promise for potential investors.
He stated that “Young Nigerians are increasingly demonstrating that they have the talent and the passion to leverage the digital economy for solving our most pressing challenges. “There are currently 150 million active mobile phone lines in the country – sixty percent of which are connected to the Internet. I can confidently say that Nigeria is in the early stages of a domestic technology revolution, and the government is paying serious attention and offering its full support, he added.
President Buhari informed the gathering that a few months ago Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, “had invested $24 million in Andela, a technology company that has Iyin Aboyeji, a 25-year-old Nigerian as one of its co-founders, and maintains its main campus in the city of Lagos.”
He urge the American businesses to take advantage of the investment opportunity that Nigeria represents, adding that the country “remains the number one investment destination in Africa, with total FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) inflow of about US$3.64 billion in 2015. Apart from our domestic market of 170 million,” Buhari said, “the largest in Africa, we are also the main gateway to a combined West African consumer market that is about as large as ours. With a median age of 19, and with 70 percent of the population below the age of 35, Nigeria’s greatest potential lies in the talent and energy of her youth. In order to encourage private capital inflow, we have packaged some fiscal investment incentives which include the following: up to 5 years of tax holiday for activities classified as ‘pioneer’; Tax-free operations; no restrictions on expatriate quotas in Free Trade Zones; among others.”
He used the occasion to announce the U.S. Nigeria Commercial and Investment Dialogue.
“This Dialogue, which will focus on Infrastructure, Agriculture, the Digital Economy, Investment and Regulatory Reform, will be jointly led by the Nigerian Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, and the US Commerce Secretary, and will include business executives from both countries,” Buhari noted.
He enjoined investors to take advantage of the forum in order to build synergies that would translate to increased trade and investment flows between Nigeria and United States of America.