15 October 2013, Sweetcrude/African Press Organization, APO, LAGOS, Nigeria — Earlier in the month investors in Nigeria’s power sector gathered to showcase the opportunities arising out of Africa’s most dynamic and exciting economy. In response to this gathering of credible players representatives of some of the most prolific and experienced global investors attended.
Why did they attend?
In short, Nigeria has turned a corner, no longer a country driven by the corrupt and the workshy, Nigeria has woken up to the simple fact that by embarking on a mission to legitimise its economy and to create a manufacturing mecca, the rewards will far outweigh those that corruption can bring.
Inspired by not only a President with a mission to legitimise Nigeria’s economy, the Governors of all states are seeing the potential and all will be equal partners in success should it be realised; both politically and financially.
Looking at Nigeria 20 years from now what will we see; an economy with a booming construction industry underpinned by the housing market, a minerals sector which is maximising opportunities for local entrepreneurs by not just exporting, but by supporting industrial manufacturing industries such as steal, glass iron and oil and gas (imagine if Nigeria could position itself as a petrochemical manufacturing hub for Europe with abundant feedstock and a vast local market as a buyer, millions of jobs would be created as would hundreds of millionaires). All this aside, without power and access to energy this will only be a dream.
What came out of the Power Investors Summit: Nigeria to support these opportunities?
1. A clear role for international investors and a pointed direction as to their market entry. One international investor commented that their entry strategy was going to be considerably adjusted on the back on the discussions had during the summit and that this would [without doubt] save the company millions of dollars from assumptions previously made.
2. A showcase of national companies with spending power and a strategy to deliver power generation with a focus on the off-taker [without international cooperation] – the questions was more around what the internationals could provide them to ‘get in on the action’.
3. And most importantly, it highlighted that whilst Nigeria was moving in the right direction, momentum was required to maintain these extraordinary steps and that the role of both the public and private sector [for now] as equal partners on this journey was paramount.
Gas infrastructure, the role of local banks and essentially the post-acquisition stage is now upon participants, and holding decision makers on both accounts will be the difference between a commercially viable power sector and a failed industry [where failure cannot be an option].
So important is Nigeria’s success to regional and continent wide growth that the global economies cannot sit idly by. So vast are the rewards, no sane industrialist will let this opportunity be squandered. As many say, if you are not in Nigeria, you are not in Africa, increasing this may well be true.