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VENTURES AFRICA – Having being tasked with preparing the country for the World Economic Forum Africa since it last held in South Africa in 2013, chief economic adviser to Nigerian president, Nwanze Okidegbe is rest assured of the country’s readiness to host the forum.
Nigeria’s president, Goodluck Jonathan had last year appointed his economic adviser, Nwanze Okidegbe and Finance Minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala as co-chairs of a steering committee to prepare the country for the huge gathering of over 800 delegates from 70 countries all over the world which will hold in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital from the 7th – 9th of May, 2014.
Okidegbe said the 24th World Economic Forum on Africa will be an opportunity for Nigeria to show the world the abundance of opportunities in the country.
“We are going to use the WEF to maximise the benefits by getting both international global and Nigerian companies to get together, share information that will further showcase that Nigeria has a lot of opportunities.
“Investment funds are limited and every country is doing whatever they can to grab a part of it. That is one of the reasons some countries go to road shows and try to woo investors to come,” Okidegbe said.
He added that the forum would also be an opportunity to let investors see beyond oil.
“There are lots of investment opportunities in manufacturing, infrastructure, agriculture and so on.
“Sometimes, when people think of Nigeria, they think of oil. But we have far more that oil. The non-oil sector is even growing far more,” Okidegbe stated.
The forum, which encourages businesses, governments and civil society to commit together to improve the state of the world would be financed by three parties – the government, private sector and WEF, according to the president’s economic adviser.
The conference with the theme, ‘Forging Inclusive Growth, Creating Jobs’ will be co-chaired by Africa’s richest man and chairman of the Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote, and Sunil Bharti Mittal, chairman of Bharti Enterprises.
It has never held in West Africa since it started in Switzerland in 1990.
Okidegbe also expressed the government’s excitement about its hosting, as well as the private sector’s eagerness and optimism about investments opportunities that the forum would bring.