President Muhammadu Buhari has signed a billion dollars worth of energy, and other sectoral deals benefiting Nigeria and her partners at the Nigeria International Economic Partnership Forum held in Manhattan, New York, on the sideline of the just concluded United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).
This was disclosed by Garba Shehu, Senior Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on Media and Publicity, in a statement highlighting some of the gains made by Nigeria at the UNGA, held in New York.
Some of the gains include a $1.3 billion investment from Sun Africa for a new solar energy project; $70 million ring-fenced by Adryada and Noblesse Green Energy for a new biodiversity project; strategic financing support for a new refinery on the Niger Delta announced by Honeywell UOP.
According to Garba Shehu, the Forum which attracted some 500 guests and delegates, was a resounding success: a clear indication of investor confidence in Nigeria.
He said, “Nigeria is the biggest economy in Africa and seeks to raise GDP to USD 965 billion-almost a trillion Dollars by 2027.
“Under the nation has recorded marked progress in highways construction, bridges, railway, power, electrification and capacity addition in airports and their modernization.
“As the President spoke, making the determination of his government to open more and more sectors of the economy to the private sector, a particular participant was stunned, not a few when he announced that he manages pension funds of USD 1.3 Trillion, money well in excess of Nigeria’s current GDP, five times over.
“A highlight of the event was the Presidential Luncheon, which saw Guest of Honour President Buhari joined by CEOs and Senior Executives from some of the largest and most prominent American and African companies, including GE, Chevron, Honeywell, Bell Flight, Sun Africa, McGraw Hill, American Tower and many more.
“The full guest list of participants included American Tower Corporation, Aveva, Big Sun Holdings, Citi, CrossBoundary Group, Cure Violence Global, Entrust, Educational Testing Service, ExxonMobil , GE Healthcare,Gilead Sciences and Hello Tractor.
“Also in attendance were Google, McLarty Associates, Medici Land Governance, NBA, Odum Capital, Oracle, Pearson, Rendeavour, Roche,Seed Global Health, Standard Bank, TIAA/Nuveen, UBA America, the AfDB, African EXIM Bank and its US equivalent, Export-Import Bank of United States, headed by Reta Jo Lewis, the first ever African-American to lead the organization, and the Jeddah-based Islamic Development Bank, IDB.
“We had also in actual participation, the World Food Program, WFP, the Food and Agriculture Organization, FAO, the International Fund for Agriculture, IFAD, and NEPAD agency for Africa.
“Of course no one could have overlooked the overarching presence and actual participation of the Corporate Council of Africa whose current President, Florie Liser addressed the meeting, saying that the organization is pushing for a private sector roadmap to support investment in several sectors to aid economic growth in Nigeria.
“Some of this country’s biggest corporations were also represented at the highest levels, including, but not limited to the great oil behemoth, the NNPC Limited, the Nigerian Ports Authority, the NIPC, NEXIM Bank, Ndimi’s Oriental Energy, First Bank, Airtel, Flour Mills Nigeria, the Fertilizer Producers Association of Nigeria, the Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association of Nigeria and so many others.
“Interestingly, there were also several young Nigerian entrepreneurs who are continually making their mark on the global business landscape.
“After breakfast and the opening session, we had the first plenary on Nigeria’s economic outlook and the second one on high-level conversations about scaling up international partnerships for Nigeria on the development drive.
Thereafter, eight breakout sessions convened simultaneously for the real business that brought everyone here.
“There was a thematic group seeking answers to important questions about growing Nigeria’s agriculture for food security and access to the export market. It addressed questions of increased investment in fertilizer and urea, opportunities for Nigeria-EU partnerships in view of the Russia-Ukraine war, and such issues as the need for technology support and innovative financing mechanisms for agriculture.
“Nigeria’s Oil and Gas sector came under discussion with a focus on “reforms, results and the road ahead,” where international interest was canvassed for the two pipeline projects taking Nigeria’s gas to Europe through Morocco and Algeria. Awareness was also raised by the NNPC Limited on the dangers of crude oil to Nigeria and the world at large. They called it “blood oil.”
“The investment climate in Nigeria including systemic risk issues and the vistas of the African Continental Trade Agreement was also brought under focus.
“Infrastructure opportunities in the power, clean energy, transportation, and water came under discussion, as did the ways and means of increasing capital flows into Nigeria, industrial financing, international development financing, and the road to greater financial inclusion.
“Nigeria also brought for international discussion at this forum, the quest for scaling up international resources for financing education in the continent as well the need for innovative deal-making mechanisms to link government, deal sponsors, and international pools capital in the health sector.
“There was also a very comprehensive discussion on the next steps for technology development: emerging technologies, satellite technology, digital communication, financing clean industries, and the use of technology to combat insecurity,” President Buhari’s SSA on media and publicity concluded.
Garba however commended Professor Ibrahim Gambari, Chief of Staff to the President, whom he described as a veteran of the UN and global systems who was the linchpin of the entire event.