Nigeria to host 3rd ECOWAS investment forum

Lagos, Nigeria (PANA) - Nigeria is set to host the third edition of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Investment Forum 5-7 June in the economic capital city of Lagos, the organisers said here Thursday.

The forum, which Nigeria will be hosting for the second time, will attract participants from the 15 member states of the regional bloc, as well as foreign and local investors, policy makers, development partners, entrepreneurs and captains of industries.

The theme of the three-day event is: ’The African Opportunity: Spotlight on West Africa.’

“The forum is (being) organised to give investors the opportunity to take a look at various investment potentials available in the sub-region and invest in them,” the Chief Executive Officer of Legacy Investment and Management Company, Ms. Enitan Obasanjo-Adeleye, told journalists at a briefing in the commercial city of Lagos.

The company is collaborating with the Association of Investment Promotion Agencies of West Africa (IPAWAS), the Infrastructure Bank Plc and the ECOWAS Commission to organise the forum, which will be the first private sector-driven investment forum.

“The visitors and participants will also have the opportunity to visit the various exhibition stands that will be mounted to showcase key areas of investments in the region. We have key policy makers, national leaders past and present and project owners who will give insight on the challenges and opportunities that we have in the region,” Obasanjo-Adeleye explained.

PANA reports that the forum will focus on the power, transport, infrastructure, oil-gas,  agribusiness, manufacturing sectors as well as Small and Medium Enterprises.

The various member states will also have the opportunity to showcase their profiles, present case studies, highlight key areas and various incentives for would-be investors.

Also speaking at the briefing, the acting Executive Secretary of IPAWAS, Stephen Amase, said: “The dream of ECOWAS Commission has been to integrate to make the entirety of this region their market. That is why they have common Investment market to harmonise investments law or investments code, so that it is one market that will do one business together.

“In this business of attracting investments, you are looking at the factor of endowment as well as the market. These two are important. So if you look at our population as a country, put at over 160 million, take that and add it up to the other 14 member countries, you are talking of about 250-300 million people. That is significant for any investor.''

In his comments, the President of Nigeria-USA Export and Investment Group (NUEIG), Chief Funsho Abiri, said the West African region is one of the places with the highest returns on investment in the world.

He said in spite of the various challenges, such as insecurity, low infrastructure base, difference in languages, culture and political history, the huge potentials in the region cannot be ignored.

“These challenges are being address and I am very optimistic that we are going to surmount them. Let’s play up our opportunities that  investors, both local and foreign, can take advantage of  to create jobs, wealth and reduce poverty.

''If we improve our economy in the region, we will reduce unemployment at least by 50%. The challenge we are facing is purely those of economic and security. if this is addressed, the region will be better for it,” he added.

The first ECOWAS Investment Forum was held in 2009 in Brussels, Belgium, while Nigeria hosted the second edition in 2011.

After the 2013 edition, the investment forum will become a yearly affair, with Cote d'Ivoire due to host in 2014.
-0- PANA SB/SEG 30May2013

30 may 2013 21:57:44

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