The desire of the Federal Government of Nigeria to make Nigeria an investment haven such that it will be the first port of call for investors interested in Africa is gaining the needed traction. This follows the intensity of mobilization being championed by the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), an appraisal of its activities in the last four months has shown.

Industry stakeholders are convinced that the current pressure on the naira, which currently trades at about N1,030 to the dollar, at the parallel market, will be reduced if foreign inflows come into the country steadily.

The current moves by NACCIMA, complementing those made at the federal and state levels, are seen as catalysts to increasing investment inflows into Africa’s largest economy, which recorded a decline in capital importation during the first two quarters of 2023. Capital importation is the money brought in by foreign investors for different investment purposes such as the acquisition of shares, manufacturing, and agriculture, among others.

According to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), the capital imported into Nigeria was worth $1.13 billion at the end of the first quarter of 2023. The level could not be sustained as it fell to $1.03 billion as of June 2023, a sign analysts interpreted to mean that foreign investors wanted more assurance that the recent fiscal and monetary reforms will be sustained into the foreseeable future.

NACCIMA was incorporated in April 1960 as Association of Chambers of Commerce in Nigeria and the Southern Cameroons. It was re-named to Association of Chambers of Commerce and Mines of Nigeria, in April 1963. At an Annual General Meeting held in Ibadan in 1972, it was agreed to change its name to what it is currently known as today – Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture. The decision was implemented in 1975.

Led by Dele Kelvin Oye Esq., National President of NACCIMA, he was a keynote speaker at the 2023 Nigeria-Italy Business and Investment Forum where on behalf of Nigeria, he showcased the investment opportunities in different sectors of the Nigerian economy, especially the strategic sectors such as agriculture, manufacturing, technology and renewable energy, just to mention a few.

Agriculture contributed 23.01 percent to Nigeria’s GDP at the end of the second quarter of this year, while industries contributed 18.56, and services 58.42 percent.

Oye said: “I am here to share with you the immense potential and opportunities that our country, Nigeria offers as a strategic business partner to Italy. Nigeria with its dynamic and diverse economy serves as a gateway to the African market.

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“Our nation is blessed with abundant natural resources, a large consumer market, and a vibrant entrepreneurial spirit. Our government has implemented progressive policies aimed at creating a conducive business environment and attracting foreign direct investments.

“These policies prioritize economic diversification, infrastructural development and ease of doing business and as a result, Nigeria has witnessed significant growth and transformations in sectors such as agriculture, manufacturing, technology and renewable energy.”

During the second quarter of 2023, Nigeria exported items such as urea, whether or not in aqueous solution, leather prepared after tanning or crusting, technically specified natural rubber (TSNR), as well as leather of goats to Italy, among other non-oil products.

At the USAfrica Business Expo in New York, in the United States of America, NACCIMA President availed himself of that vantage opportunity to sell Nigerian investment opportunities to the American businesses aspiring to explore the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). He identified Nigeria’s large and youthful demographics as well as human capital resources as the country’s selling points.

He said: “Under the rules of origin, you can trade in Africa under the continental free trade. Nigeria also represents a large country with over 240 to 250 million people. What this means is that even if you are selling a piece of paper in Nigeria, you are already a billionaire. You don’t need to go outside Nigeria.

“You also have people with huge talents; you don’t need to bring in your expatriates in any field to come to work in Nigeria. I can assure you that the local talents abound and they are ready to collaborate with you.”

He urged foreign investors to see Nigeria’s current challenges as opportunities the same way MTN Nigeria, one of the most capitalized stocks on the Nigerian Exchange Group (NGX), grasped the opportunities in the nation’s low teledensity in early 2000s.

“See those problems as opportunities and be a gateway to lead Africa with whatever emerging technologies. In any investment you do, if you invest in the wrong technology, you will lose money. So, part of your first job here is when there’s a new invention, make sure you tell us back home. That way you would have contributed to solving a problem back home,” Oye said.