BusinessDay

US-based group pledges  $4bn investment  to revamp Nigerian economy

A group of Nigerian professionals in the United States (U.S)  has pledged to put  in place measures to attract an estimated $4 billion investment into the Nigerian economy in the next two years.
The professionals under the aegis of Nigerian American Business Forum (NABF), made this pledge at its 2020 Investment Conference with the theme: ‘Improving Nigeria’s Economy: opportunities and challenges,, at Tampa, Florida, US.
The group said despite the obvious investment challenges, they were determined to use their wealth of experience and connections to attract development to their fatherland.
The President of the forum, Kenneth Shobola, said the forum aimed to impact the wealth of experience of accomplished Nigerian Diasporas for the rapid development of their homeland.
Shobola said: “Our goal remains the same; we are attracting a $4 billion investment over a two-year period. We have already identified some areas where there’s deficiencies such as healthcare, agriculture and education.
“We’ve been doing quite a lot. Privately a lot of our members are making inroads into those numbers and also corporately, we’re already working and also looking at very good viable projects in Nigeria.
“Should things go the way we want, with the plans we have in place, exiting this conference, a huge chunk of that $4 billion investment would definitely be hit before our next conference,” he said.
Shobola noted that Nigeria is one of the best and most fertile countries to invest in anywhere in the world.
“As in everything high risk in the world, no investment is risk-free but at the same time, you must minimise or eliminate these risks as best as you can.
“I think Nigeria is one of the countries as a developing nation where you can truly see the opportunities that you probably will not see here in the United States and then if properly harnessed, you will get the desired results,” he said.
He said there were opportunities to curtail the craze of medical tourism by Nigerians by looking at dilapidated hospitals or healthcare establishments that need restructuring and administrative services in addition to bringing experts in to run such facilities the way they were done in the U.S.
He NABF was looking at establishing and integrating the most current diagnostics techniques and treatments options based on the expertise we have here in the United States.
He added that the forum will bring in some experts such as cardiologists, neurologists, ophthalmologist, surgical interventionists in the areas of cancer, diabetes and a lot of the common diseases that tend to plague Nigerian people.
Shobola said one of the issues pushing NABF to invest in Nigeria was that youth unemployment was “at undesirable and unheard of levels” adding that NABF’s overall goal is to get to 100 per cent of youth employment.
“We have massive youth unemployment at this stage, our goal is to continue to do what we are doing to attain 100 per cent youth employment.
“Just look at the Nigerians here, they sing our praises everywhere we go just because we have the opportunities and those opportunities showcase our talents.
“But Nigerians at home have the education but don’t have the opportunities. This is creating a very dangerous condition,” the NABF President said.
He said combating youth employment was a tall order but believed that the diasporas intervening along complementing the efforts of government and the private sector in Nigeria would make the desired difference.
“We just put ourselves in these kids condition. There’s a huge problem, intellectual gaps between Nigerians abroad and those at the homeland.
“That’s a big challenge for us because as Nigerians here, we can identify with them because we went through that same system,” the NABF President said.
The conference was attended by accomplished investors from all over the world and high level Nigerian government officials in the United States.