Ahead of the world Economic Forum on Africa holding in Nigeria, the Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, says investors’ interests in different sectors of the Nigerian economy have continued to increase despite security challenges in the north east.
At a press conference on Monday, ahead of the event that will begin on May 7, Dr Okonjo-Iweala pointed out that the security challenges in Nigeria’s north east were not peculiar with the country, saying “terrorism is a global thing”.
In responses that dwelt more on security, she reiterated the Nigerian government’s commitment to ensuring adequate security in the country’s capital city within the period of the event.
“Acts of terrorism are perpetrated world over. The whole of the world and Africa are worried about the increasing trend. Apart from the short term plan of trying to strengthen security in our country, we also have to look beyond to see how we can make sure that our young people are occupied gainfully with decent jobs or decent livelihood in order for them not to become recruiting ground for people that are carrying out these attacks. The extremists in our midst,” she said.
She also said that the World Economic Forum on Africa would be focusing on how these jobs could be created.
“We will focus on the short term of strengthening security but we will also address some of the underlying causes like unemployment and that is why the title of the forum is linked to security.
“We need to build a social protection system in Nigeria and we are looking at how to expound some of the programmes that are working.
“We think we need to do all we can to ensure that the impact of the insurgency will reduce,” she said, emphasising the government’s commitment to ensuring that the insurgency in the north east comes to an end.
Recently, a bomb blast occurred in Nyanya area of Abuja, casting aspersions on the ability of security agencies to secure the town, but the Minister expressed optimism that the government had put together far reaching strategies to ensure that the participants were safe.
“We are going to do the maximum necessary to make sure that our guests are protected.
“The government has asked public servants and students to stay home between 7 to 9 May to enhance free movement, security and surveillance in the capital city.
Investment Areas To Explore
Despite these security challenges, a large number of investors are expected to be present at the World Economic Forum on Africa with the theme, ‘Forging Inclusive Growth, Creating Jobs’, holding in the country with largest economy in Africa.
Dr Okonjo-Iweala listed the areas that investors could explore in Nigeria to include agriculture, manufacturing, housing and creative industry amongst others.
“We have good indices that will attract investors and we have sources of growth,” she said
Nigeria has over 33 solid minerals that have not been exploited that are of huge commercial quantity and the government is looking to woo investors to tap these minerals.
As much as these investments would create jobs, the workforce in Nigeria seems to be lacking necessary skills needed by the private sector.
To ensure that Nigerian youths will benefit from these jobs when they come, the forum will be talking more about skills and the need to acquire the right skills that would make the unemployed Nigerians employable.
The forum will kick off on May 7 and it will attract participants, including Heads of Governments and Statesmen, CEOs of global firms, leading financiers and policy and development technocrats, from over 80 countries, providing Nigeria with an immense and unique opportunity for economic and cultural diplomacy.