John Shiklam in Kaduna
Former Tanzanian President, Dr. Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, wednesday listed insecurity, poor infrastructure and lack of technical manpower as impediments militating against investment in Africa.
In his keynote address at the third Kaduna Investment Forum (KADINVEST) wednesday in Kaduna, Kikwete said African countries face very daunting challenges in investment due to lack of basic infrastructures like electricity, efficient transportation system and skilled technical manpower that encourage foreign investments.
He said peace and stability are also key to investment, stressing that no investor would want to do business in an environment where his business would be threatened.
According to him, “A conducive investment environment is a very critical factor if you have a lot to offer, but if the investments climate is not conducive, people will not come.
“I have learnt from experience of promoting investments for my country, Tanzania, that notwithstanding, a conducive investment environment is a very critical factor for investments’ opportunities
“If you have a lot to offer, but the investments climate is not conducive, people will not come. Perhaps this is the most important factor that business people give closest attention to and very serious consideration when choosing where to direct their investment it is almost a make or break factor which is the ultimate.”
Emphasising on the key role of investments in the development of countries, he noted that “it takes investments to have a well-functioning government, defence and security establishment, parliament, courts of law to provide services to the people and ensure progress, security, safety and justice in the society…”
He called for massive infrastructural development to boost investments opportunities and facilitate speedy development of African countries.
The ex-president commended the Nigerian Government for the steps taken to promote investments in the country.
Kikwete also commended the Kaduna State Government for creating the necessary environment for investments to thrive in the state.
“When they say we are going to Kaduna, the first question they ask is: ‘What is there? Why should we go there? What are we going to benefit from there?
“I am glad the state government appreciates this fact in the KADIPA document called ‘Invest in Kaduna State’ prepared for this forum. The investments opportunities that the state has to offer have been very well narrated in it.
“There is an enormous investment opportunities; the governor has elaborated on that very important aspect, therefore it makes a lot of economic sense for investors to decide to invest in this state. They will not regret,” he said.
Also, in a goodwill he sent, President Muhammadu Buhari said the federal government is encouraging similar initiatives across the sub-national level to create jobs and prosperity for the people.
He said the implementation of the economic recovery and growth plan of his administration requires significant investment by the government and the private sector to build infrastructure and diversify the economy.
He said: “Consistent with this goal, the federal government is pushing forward an aggressive plan to make it easier to do business in Nigeria. Key agencies are committed to milestones and measures to reduce waiting times for government approval, and remove as many impediments to business as we can safely and prudently do.”
Speaking earlier, the state Governor, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, said the state government would require about $ 65.5 billion to address the challenges of infrastructure in the next 30 years.
He said the long term infrastructure master plan summarised the infrastructure target of the state, aimed at providing job opportunities and making lives better for the people.
The governor said his administration had attracted investments into the state in the last two years with 79 per cent coming from outside the country.
He said in order to encourage domestic investment in the state, the government is focusing on building human capital by engaging in different activities where young people are willing to be employed in businesses.