The IFC Vice President, Sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America and The Caribbean, Jean Philippe Prosper stated this while speaking with news men during his visit to Nigeria.
He said that IFC has invested a total of $1.5bn in Nigeria within the organisations’s last fiscal year that ended in June, 2013.
According to him, the infrastructure and natural resources sector got 25 per cent, about N60bn, while manufacturing and agribusiness got 25 per cent. The financial markets got N120bn about 50 per cent of the total investments.
“We have significantly increased our volume of activities both in terms of investments and advisory services. On the investment front, we have in the past fiscal year, which is from July 1st 2012 to June 30, 2013, invested about $1.5bn in Nigeria which represents close to 30 per cent of what we have done in Africa this year. That was about 50 per cent in financial markets, 25 per cent on infrastructure and natural resources and the other 25 per cent in manufacturing and agribusinesses,” he said.
He added that, “Over all in Africa, we have significantly increased our activities in infrastructure development particularly in power and transport, because those are the key areas of need in Africa. In Nigeria, our major focus is on power and we as a World Bank Group are working with the government and others and we have developed a joint World Bank approach on what we call Energy Business Plan.”
He further noted that Nigeria’s economy is providing veritable opportunities, presenting huge prospects for growth and IFC will continue to do more businesses in Nigeria.
“In terms of doing business in Nigeria, we would have not been able to increase our volume of business if there were no opportunities. Clearly there are opportunities, it is a vibrant economy as the economy has grown to over 7 per cent in the last three years and it is expected to continue to grow even in a relatively faster pace. Of course there are issues but what is important to us is that we are seeing positive trends in the economy and we are excited about the opportunity for us to continue to do more business,” he said.
On the $1bn bonds that IFC plans to issue in Nigeria and has approved full authorisation to commence the process, Prosper said, it was to boost investors’ confidence in the financial market and also to make long term loan available to local companies in the country.
“The $1bn bond that we want to issue would have two important effects. First, there will be huge confidence. All the international investors will see that IFC is willing to take the risks on Nigeria, because at the end of the day we are issuing it in naira. Also, that investment will help us to issue long term financial instrument to local companies. This is because once we get that money, we will use it to lend to companies that need naira, we will give more to local companies in long term project of up to fifteen years which commercial banks cannot give because they don’t have such instruments,” he explained.
*Jonah Nwokpoku, Vanguard