Nigeria’s investment opportunities have continued to attract foreign direct investment (FDI) as it remains among the top three investment destinations in Africa despite the numerous challenges the country faces.
“I think the good news is that the states are all competitive. They all know that, you have to fight to attract capital into your state. They all now know that capital moves from anywhere,” Nigeria’s Minister of Trade and Investment, Olusegun Aganga told CNBC Africa.
“No investor is going to put money down on the basis of charity, they are going to put money down on the basis that they are going to make money and they are going to make money in areas where there is competitive advantage.”
Intra-trade with other states in Nigeria is still very limited as a large proportion of investment inflows are FDIs despite the fact that intra-trade between states, especially in the south, can drive economic growth without much FDI.
“When you look at Nigeria, we have a very large country which is an advantage. When we talk about Nigeria, we talk about a large market of 170 million people that has a potential to grow to the third largest in the world by 2017,” he explained.
According to the minister, even the international community are looking for that market which means that the country’s first emphasis should be trade facilitation from a domestic point of view and that is why for the first time, the country has changed its trade strategy.
“We now have domestic trade, because we have to take advantage of being in [Economic Community Of West African States] ECOWAS and West Africa, and then international trade. We are prioritising regional trade and domestic trade.”
“To make that happen, there are a number of things we need to have in place. One is to have a functional commodities exchange platform. We have done that now,”
Last week Thursday, a commodities exchange platform was launched with six commodities and the platform aims to make it a lot quicker and faster to trade locally.
“The second, is to look at economic routes because you must be able to move goods and people around quickly and cheaply and also to encourage rail.”
“We are a very blessed nation and we need to look beyond because there is a lot we can do even trading amongst ourselves. That should be the first responsibility and then after that, trading within ourselves in ECOWAS and then Africa,” he added.