Nigeria needs to attract at least $50bn in foreign direct investment (FDI) in 2021 to avoid total economic collapse. Where on earth we are going to get it from I do not know and I am surprised that nobody is even talking about it at the moment.
Waiting for investors to just come to Nigeria is utopian thinking. We should be the ones aggressively pursuing them, using our control of the Ecowas market as a unique selling point.
With the opening of our borders, Nigeria can now provide access to the sub-region’s markers to any investor. Were I in President Buhari’s shoes, I would have had such investment agreements in place before opening Nigeria’s borders.
His message to the rest of the world should have been simple – Invest in Nigeria and we will grant you access to the 350m Ecowas market. If you fail to invest, we will not open our borders.
Here are certain key sectors I think President Buhari should have targeted:
(1) Scandinavia – Railway construction
(2) Russia – Steel production
(3) Germany – Electricity generation and distribution
(4) Japan – Automobile manufacturing
(5) Australia – Solid mineral processing
(6) Canada – Livestock processing and animal feed compounding
(7) US – Food processing
(8) India – Pharmaceutical manufacturing
(9) China – Machine tool manufacturing
(10) Europe’s Low Countries – Household goods manufacturing
If we could attract just $10bn worth of investment from each origin, imagine how many jobs it would create. I do not believe that asking say Nissan, Toyota, Mitsubishi, Honda, Suzuki and Mazda to float a Nigerian joint venture is asking a lot. What is $10bn investment to these companies together?
Opening say a gearbox manufacturing plant in Nnewi a chassis facility in Nsukka and then maybe an assembly plant in Port Harcourt to churn out a unique Nigerian four-by-four vehicle would guarantee them bumper sales. Plants manufacturing other components could be opened up across the rest of West Africa in cities like Accra, Abidjan, Dakar, Monrovia, Conakry and Banjul.
Across the board, this model could be replicated. It cannot be business as usual in this post-Covid era my people!