The Federal Government yesterday said, that Nigeria was now the number one investment destination in Africa; with a foreign direct investment, FDI, inflow of $8.9 billion in 2011, representing about 16 per cent of Africa’s total estimate of $55billion.
This came as Nigeria and the United States of America renewed their commitments towards strengthening relationships in economics, trade and investment, with special focus on non-oil exports.
The Minister of Trade and Investment, Mr Olusegun Aganga, disclosed this at the seventh US-Nigeria Trade and Investment Agreement Council Meeting in Abuja, saying: “In terms of Foreign Direct Investments, Nigeria is now the number one investment destination in Africa; recording FDI inflow of $8.9 billion in 2011, about 16 per cent of Africa’s total, estimated at $55billion.
“However, we must turn the nation’s resource advantage and investment opportunities into economic fortune, and the US-Nigeria TIFA provides a good window for achieving this. The United States, for instance, is the world’s number one in manufacturing, particularly in those sectors we have prioritized under the Nigeria Industrial Revolution Plan, such as the iron and steel, aluminium, automobile and petrochemical sectors, among others. This means there is already a good foundation for a win-win trade and investment collaboration between the two countries.”
Aganga pointed out that given the current global economic meltdown, trade and investment remained the only potent tool for achieving sustainable and inclusive economic growth globally.
He added that there was need for the country and the United States to deepen their trade and investment relations, especially in areas where both countries had comparative and competitive advantage.
The US-Nigeria Trade and Investment Agreement (TIFA), signed in 2000, establishes the framework for structured dialogue on Trade, Intellectual Property Rights, flow of investment as well as partnership for cooperation and collaboration between the economic operators of the two countries.
“All over the world, presidents and policy makers have agreed that there is only one tool that can lead to sustainable and inclusive economic growth. That tool today, is trade and investment. Nigeria is indeed the United States’ largest trading partner in Sub-Saharan Africa. This is largely due to the high level of trade in petroleum products, which accounts for nearly 46 per cent of Nigeria’s daily oil production and ranks Nigeria the 5th largest exporter of oil to the United States,” Aganga said.
“This indicates clearly that the Nigeria-US bilateral trading activities evolve around oil and gas, particularly Nigeria’s export to the United States. This highlights the need to accelerate the growth of non-oil trade between the two countries for inclusive economic growth and development,” he added.
Speaking during the event, the Assistant United States Trade Representative, Ms. Florizella Liser, said that the US would work with Nigeria to enhance the current level of trade and investment between the two countries.
“We recognise that there are inhibitions to the expansion of trade and investment between Nigeria and the United States. There are a number of issues relating to increased trade and investment between the two countries as well as improving the investment environment in Nigeria, which this meeting has addressed. Mr. Aganga has already taken the lead by going around the world to promote investment opportunities in Nigeria, not only in the oil and gas sector but also in the manufacturing and others sectors,” Liser said. [VN]