Buhari Departs Abuja Monday for Investment Summit in Saudi Arabia

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Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja

President Muhammadu Buhari will depart Abuja Monday for Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, to attend the third edition of the Future Investment Initiative (FII) organised by Saudi’s Public Investment Fund (PIF).

With the theme, ‘‘What’s Next for Global Business?,’’ the event, according to a statement by presidential spokesman, Malam Garba Shehu, will hold on October 29-31, with focus on three key pillars:  sustainable future, technology for good and advanced society.

He said the three-day event would be held under the patronage of the custodian of the two holy mosques, King Salman bin Abdulaziz of Saudi Arabia, and chaired by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, Deputy Premier, Chairman of the Council of Economic and Development Affairs and PIF.

The statement said given the increased investor confidence in Nigeria’s economy, Buhari would use the occasion to speak about available economic opportunities in Nigeria, the effectiveness of his administration’s policies to improve on the business environment, and also invite investors to the country.

The statement added: “It is noteworthy that the total value of capital inflow into Nigeria increased from US$12 billion in the first half-year of 2018 to US$14 billion for the same period in 2019.

“The Nigerian delegation will leverage on the resources in Saudi’s PIF, which aims at becoming one of the largest and most impactful sovereign wealth funds in the world, to seek foreign investments in critical projects in the country’s oil and gas sector, particularly the Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano (AKK) gas Pipeline – the 614 km-long natural gas pipeline currently being developed by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation.

“Nigerian officials will also take advantage of the summit to accelerate discussions on the planned interest of the Saudi oil company, Aramco, to revamp Nigeria’s refineries and new investments in the oil and gas sector.”

Shehu said organisers of the event noted that the high-profile conference had proven to be a substantial international platform for expert-led debate among investors, innovators and governments as well as economic leaders, with the power to shape the future of global investment, since it was launched in 2017.

He also said the conference would focus on the utilisation of investment to drive growth opportunities, enable innovation and disruptive technologies, and address global challenges.

According to the statement, more than 4,000 delegates from over 90 countries are expected to participate in FII 2019, which he said would also host 12 workshops on different topics, including cities, energy, climate, health, data, mobility, food, travel, sports, shopping and youth.

The statement said the president would be accompanied by Governor Babagana Zulum of Borno State, Governor Abubakar Bagudu of Kebbi State and Governor Aminu Bello Masari of Katsina State.

Also accompanying the president are, the Minister of State, Foreign Affairs, Zubairu Dada; Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Niyi Adebayo; Minister of State, Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva and Minister of Communications, Ibrahim Pantami.

Others are National Security Adviser, General Babagana Monguno (rtd), Director-General, National Intelligence Agency, Ambassador Ahmed Rufa’i Abubakar, and the Group Managing Director, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mele Kolo Kyari.

Shehu said after the investors’ conference in Riyadh, Buhari would proceed to Makkah, accompanied by close personal aides, to perform the Umrah (lesser pilgrimage) before returning to Abuja.