A 1-day Nigeria-Australia Business Summit last week ended in Melbourne, Australia,with a call on participants and business stakeholders across the globe to take advantage of Nigeria’s large population, economic size as well as its growing middle class to put the country on the front burner as an investment hub on the African continent,being also the continent’s largest economy and country.
Speaking at the summit,the High Commissioner of Nigeria to Australia and the Pacific Region,Amb. Anderson N. Madubike urged investors at the event to consider investing in Nigeria,while revealing that the country has one of the fastest returns on investments globally. He also told the Australian authorities that there was paucity of information on both the Australian and the Nigerian sides on the numerous opportunities that exist between the two countries. While calling on all to brace up for changes that would deepen economic ties between Nigeria and the region,he said such thematic areas as Mining, Education, Agriculture/Agri-tech as well as Energy and Technology were key to driving a new investment agenda for Nigeria and the host country.
Speaking to newsmen at the end of the event,the Nigerian diplomat further stressed that the goal of the summit was to leverage the abundant untapped human and material resources in Nigeria to increase the nation’s visibility and importance in the Pacific Region. Accordingly,Amb. Madubike said the Nigerian Mission in Australia had invited some Government Agencies from Nigeria and Australia,as well as business moguls and private enterprises from both countries to the Summit.
“I represented our country and led the Nigerian side,while the Australian Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs, Honourable Tim Watts, represented the Australian Government at the event. Of course, assigning such a Senior Member of Government to represent the country at the Conference is a testament to the host authority’s interest in Nigeria”, Amb. Madubike revealed.
Participants from Nigeria included representatives of the Nigeria Investment Promotion Commission ( NIPC),the University of Nigeria, Nsukka,represented by the Vice Chancellor,Professor Charles Arizechukwu Igwe, numerous private investors and experts from Nigeria,the United States,Canada and Australia. In attendance on the Australian side were also many Mining, Educational and Agricultural concerns all of which , eventually, expressed strong interests in investing in Nigeria.
Consequent upon the foregoing,the Nigerian delegation undertook some site and company tours of the host country. This led to the commencement of talks on several fronts for the signing of Memorandum of Understanding ( MoU). For instance,the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, and the University of Melbourne on one hand and the Federation University, Ballarat,Victoria State,on the other hand, were some such MoUs that were consummated at the event. In addition to the foregoing,the Australian- Africa Chamber of Commerce also proposed an initiative that would showcase the opportunities in the Mining, Equipment and Technology Service sectors. The above for Nigeria is, indeed,an initiative that is expected to educate prospective investors on the mining environment and potential in Nigeria.
Earlier speaking as part of his official goodwill message at the summit, representative of the host country and Honourable Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs,Tim Watts, noted the exploits Nigerians are making in the world, including in Australia. He commended the rich culture and entrepreneurial orientation of Nigerian citizens and observed the strength and contributions of the youthful Nigerian population as well as the impact of Nigeria’s entertainment across the globe. One of the high points of the event was the presentation of the representative of the Executive Secretary of the NIPC,Mr John Oseji,a Director at the Commission.While throwing light on The Ease of Doing Business in Nigeria,his presentation dispelled a lot of misinformation of the Nigerian investment climate and policies.He also highlighted the Federal Government’s efforts in the bid to diversify the economy,while pointing out the strategic role the NIPC plays in matchmaking and promoting the Nigerian investment space and facilitating investments.
Many preliminary meetings were,thus, facilitated by the Nigerian Mission in Australia between the NIPC and foreign investors. Part of the above was that of Sanctuary Global Enterprises in Melbourne. The company ,which is in the energy sector is currently in the business of converting waste to power( electricity) and producing for general supplies new generation solar panels for power generation. Other such MoUs between NIPC and the global business community at the summit,Amb.Madubike informed,also include the agreement with the Australian Trade and Investment Commission ( Austrade). This initiative is expected to develop strong trade and investment partnerships, Business Missions in both countries and the formation of an Australian/ Nigeria Chamber of Commerce. All of the above, according to the Nigerian Envoy in Australia, have exposed many investors to the opportunities within the Nigerian investment space and will in no distant time contribute maximally in enhancing the economic and trade relations with the Pacific Region for mutual benefits.