Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, has been appointed as the Vice President of Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council (CWEIC), an interest group established to promote trade and investment by facilitating engagement between government and the private sector throughout the Commonwealth.
Chief Executive Officer of CWEIC, Oliver Everett, who stated this while meeting with a group of Nigerian businessmen at the Lagos House in Alausa, Ikeja, said Ambode would be in office alongside Rt. Hon Jeffrey Mountevans, the Lord Mayor of the City of London as co-Vice President of the council for the next one year, subject to renewal for another year.
Everett, who was in Nigeria to talk to small business owners on investment opportunities in Commonwealth nations, especially in Europe, said the appointment of Ambode was a major pointer to the fact that Nigeria and indeed Lagos is open for real and serious investment.
The meeting with a select group of small business owners was facilitated by the Office of the Special Adviser on Oversees Affairs and Investment, otherwise known as Lagos Global, a one stop shop created by Ambode’s administration to facilitate investment and enhance ease of doing business in the State.
While tutoring small scale business owners on investment opportunities in Europe, Everett advised them, for instance, to avoid production of sugary drinks, saying a lot of people in Europe were now avoiding such drinks because of obesity, and would rather prefer natural drinks.
He said Nigerians in the United Kingdom are the fourth largest spenders, and that there is already a huge market for Nigerian goods in that regard, as well as to Europeans who love made in Nigeria goods.
Besides, Everett commended the anti-corruption efforts of President Muhammadu Buhari, saying the war on corruption embarked upon by the President since assuming office about a year ago had positively changed the perception of investors about the safety of their investments in Nigeria.
“In terms of investment, there is huge interest in Nigeria at the moment. I think it is well known that there are a number of challenges for investors over many years because of lack of confidence about where money invested in Nigeria may end up.
“That maybe true and it may not be true but we all know as business people that perception is sometimes a reality and with the perception that money would not necessarily end up where it ought to, many investors avoided Nigeria and that is why the crackdown on corruption by President Buhari has made a huge difference to that perception and there is now a great willingness for investors to come to Nigeria,” Everett said.
CWEIC was established in July 2014 with the support of the Commonwealth Secretariat. It is a not for profit membership company with a mandate to facilitate increased trade and investment across the Commonwealth.
CWEIC is the apex organisation representing private sector businesses within the Commonwealth and is the only institution with a remit to promote intra-commonwealth trade and investment.
The CWEIC is also responsible for organising the Commonwealth Business Forum alongside the biennial Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting.