Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has said the inaugural African Investment Forum, in Johannesburg, South Africa, is a game-changer and new era in the continent’s development.
Laolu Akande, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Office of the Vice President, said on Thursday that Osinbajo made the remarks at an interaction with stakeholders shortly after the opening session of the forum.
Osinbajo said that the impressive turnout of the global business community and the number of investment deals being sealed at the forum would mark a beginning in Africa’s investment history.
“The good thing about this conference is that it is an implementation conference. We are actually signing deals here, which is a marked difference between this conference and any that has held anywhere else in the world, as a matter of fact.
“It is a platform for signing deals. Already we saw a 62billion dollar deal here. There is a lot of excitement in the air, mainly because we are not just talking here.
“I don’t think you would have the turnout you have here especially in terms of the business community, the DFIs, the Development Banks, the Private Banks and of course, government, this is an implementation conference. This is not just talking.”
He said Nigeria was not left out in investment deals to be reached at the end of the forum, noting that the country was on the right track.
The vice president said that Nigeria had invested so much in infrastructure, as it doubled power generation as well as investing in rail and other capital projects.
Speaking on Nigeria’s leap on the global scale of ease of doing business in 2017, Osinbajo said there had been critical reforms.
“One of the main things we did and are still doing in Nigeria is deepening reforms that started effectively in 2016 and focused on issues around ease of doing business.
“What we did basically was to look at reforms in the areas of entry and exit of people, construction permits, international trade platforms, getting credits, providing power and others.
“We picked on those specific areas because we knew they were the weak areas; we focused on reforming them and they also included reforming at the sub-national levels.”
Speaking on government collaboration with the private sector, Osinbajo said the Buhari administration had remained consistent in its policy on partnering the private sector.
“The partnership with the private sector is extremely important for us. For instance, we established an Industrial Competitiveness and Advisory Council and the Presidential Quarterly Business Forum, where we meet with all the businesses whether large or small.
“The whole idea is to work on policy and together formulate what is our vision in the coming years. Recently we added what is called the Technology and Creativity Advisory Group.
“This takes into account a lot of the new businesses especially FINTECH companies- young men and women who are involved in entertainment and technology innovations.
“What we have seen is that by focusing on those areas, we are already seeing incremental changes,” he said.
The vice president said government, through the advisory council and relevant agencies, was working on resolving regulatory issues that arose from the entry of FINTECH companies into the financial market.
The Chairman of Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote and Chairman of Heirs Holdings, Mr Tony Elumelu attended the forum.