Osinbajo visits Vietnam, woos Southeast Asian investors

Idowu Abdullahi
Idowu Abdullahi

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Wednesday concluded his three-day working visit to the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.

Before leaving, however, he met senior officials of the Vietnamese government including President Nguyễn Xuân Phúc; the Vice President, Madam Vo Thi Anh Xuan; the Prime Minister, Pham Minh Chinh and members of the business community.

Osinbajo spent the second day of his official visit affirming that foreign investors wanting to do business in Africa need to look no further than Nigeria.

This was contained in a statement signed by the VP’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Laolu Akande, on Wednesday.

Speaking in Hanoi during separate interactions with a cross-section of Vietnamese interests in agribusiness, tech & innovation, commerce and industry, Osinbajo explained that Nigeria remains the natural investment destination in Africa.

Addressing the Vietnamese business community under the auspices of the VCCI, he noted that “Nigeria remains, perhaps, the most intuitive place to do business in Africa. Despite the economic slowdown in the aftermath of the pandemic, GDP growth has been positive for the last seven quarters, and though it slowed to 2.3 per cent on a year-to-year basis in the third quarter of this year, it was a 9.7% increase over the second quarter.

“Apart from being the most populous country in Africa, Nigeria also has the continent’s largest economy, accounting for over 20 per cent of continental GDP. The Nigerian private sector has undertaken large path-breaking investments in the country in agriculture, manufacturing, petrochemicals, finance, telecommunications and the digital economy,” he added.

Osinbajo also noted that Nigeria continues to rank very high on the viability spectrum.

He said “Our people are renowned for being energetic and tech-savvy, with over 60 per cent of the population below 25 years of age.”

In the tech space, the VP said between 2015 and 2021, six Nigerian tech-based companies were certified as unicorns (companies valued at over $1bn each.

He added that Nigeria is also now home to over 200 fintech standalone companies, plus a number of fintech solutions offered by banks and mobile network operators as part of their product portfolio.

“The creative sector, which employs over 4 million people and has potential to add 2.7 million by 2025, is ranked the second largest employer of labour after the agricultural sector.

“We are on course to become the third largest national market, based on headcount, by the year 2050. We are already the largest financial market in Africa with market capitalization in excess of US$50bn as at the end of last year,” he explained.

Highlighting the government’s efforts to encourage foreign direct investments in Nigeria, the Vice President said “similar opportunities are available across all parts of the Nigerian economy and since we allow 100 per cent ownership by foreign investors, these opportunities are open to partners that wish to invest in our country.

“There is also the unconditional remittance of investment capital and profits, as well as tax and duty incentives for investors. Other incentives, including those that pertain to individual sectors, are well detailed in a ‘Compendium of Investment Incentives in Nigeria’ produced by the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission and our tax authority, the Federal Inland Revenue Service.”

He cited the potential in the African Continental Free Trade Area, saying, “in addition to our domestic market of over 200 million people, Nigeria is a gateway to the rest of Africa both as a result of our close ties with other African countries and our location on the continent, which is nearly equidistant to all parts.”

“Our membership of the African Continental Free Trade Area has created incredible opportunities. Investors in Nigeria will have access to Africa’s market of 1.3 billion people and a combined gross domestic product of $3.4tn using Nigeria as a gateway.

“Early entrants into Nigeria in terms of trade and investment will surely reap bountiful rewards,” the VP assured investors.

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