By Emma Okonji
In order to attract the needed investment to fully develop the local economy, Actis, a leading growth markets investor, has called on the public and private sector to create an enabling enterprise environment that is transparent and accountable to the masses.
Key players of Actis who were engaged in a discussion focused on the role of private capital investors in developing the local economy and the investment opportunities available in Nigeria, made the call during the hosting of over 200 senior public and private sector decision makers in Lagos recently, organised by Actis to share its perspectives on the Africa opportunity and potential for Nigeria.
The discussants included the Minister of Industry Trade and Investment, Dr. Okechukwu Enelamah, who is a private capital investor; Global Head of Private Equity at Actis, Mrs. Natalie Kolbe; Director, Real Estate, Actis West Africa, Funke Okubadejo and Investment Principal at Actis, Mr. Tony Abakisi.
Speaking on Nigeria’s economy and government’s roadmap towards diversifying the local economy, the minister said government is determined to enhance public infrastructure, whilst supporting high growth sectors in the country and boosting exports.
According to him, “I want Nigeria to be the number one growth market. Nigeria presents diverse investment opportunities in areas that would not only support the local economy but also deliver significant yields to foreign investors like Actis.”
“Private capital has an important role to play in our medium to long term focus on re-building an enabling business environment. We as a government and I in particular accept responsibility for our policies and also for ensuring implementation. Therefore we can be held accountable,” the minister added.
Enelamah had in the past implemented various reforms to boost and restructure the economy that includes the introduction of the Nigeria Industrial Revolution Plan (NIRP).
President Muhammadu Buhari also approved the establishment of the Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC), aimed at making Nigeria more attractive for investments, with the Vice-President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo as Chairman and Enelamah as Vice Chairman.
Another key player of Actis, Kolbe, said, “Actis has been investing in Nigeria for around seven decades and we are here for the long term. We have recently committed a significant amount of capital across our asset classes from malls and office space to financial services and power generation.”
“We are realistic about the current macroeconomic environment but we have invested through the cycles before. That experience makes us pragmatic in our approach. We remain extremely optimistic and excited about the potential here in Nigeria.”
A recent report by the World Bank stated that the country would experience moderate rebound in 2017 on the back of federal government’s expansionary budget, expected to begin to yield results in the coming years.
The public/private sector forum said the federal government recently injected N600 billion into the economy for capital/infrastructure projects, with the aim to create activities in the private sector which in turn will lead to job creation in the country.
Actis’ previous and current investments in Nigeria include investment in Mouka Foam, a leading Nigerian mattress brand; Diamond Bank, one of Nigeria’s leading banks; Jabi Lake Mall, Abuja’s one-stop leisure, restaurant and retail destination; The Palms, the first ever international-standard diversified retail mall in Nigeria; Heritage Place, a world-class office development in Lagos’s commercial and retail area; Ikeja City Mall, a world-class retail and leisure mall in Ikeja, Lagos and Vlisco Group, the market leader in designer wax fashion fabrics. Other investments include UAC of Nigeria Plc, the leading food-centric conglomerate; Upstream, the leading emerging markets mobile monetisation company and Emerging Markets Payments Holdings, a pan-African payments business; Sigma, the leading Nigerian Pension Fund Administrator and most recently a $300 million commitment to the Azura power platform targeting 3000 megawatt in Edo state.