30 Janauary 2014, Abuja – The Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo Iweala, has said that foreign investors were impressed with Nigeria’s economic growth and overall performance at the just concluded World Economic Forum that held in Davos, Switzerland.
The minister stated this while speaking at the Creative Industry Awards organised by Creative Entrepreneurs Association of Nigeria where she also received an award for the best overall contributor to the development of the Nigerian creative industry in 2013.
According to her, “Having come straight from the entourage of Mr. President’s investment team, from the gathering of world’s CEOs in Davos, Switzerland, I can tell you that Nigeria was much celebrated.
And contrary to the image that many try to promote, of lack of hope, negativity and the country not doing well, the overall assessment is that in spite of the problems we have, Nigeria is a country to be celebrated,” she said.
“It’s a country of spirit, entrepreneurship, drive of creativity and that was what we saw in Davos, and I want all Nigerian people to hold on to it that this country is a country that we can be proud of. It is a country in which we can have hope,” she added.
She explained that Nigeria has very creative entrepreneurs, who are working against all odds to help drive the economy, adding that despite those challenges, there is hope since the economy has shown steady seven per cent growth over the past few years.She said, “We all know that Nigeria has one of the most versatile and hardworking entrepreneurs today.
The Nigerian economy has its challenges and problems, we do acknowledge that. There are problems of unemployment, inequality, lack of inclusion, but our economy is an economy that is very vibrant and the fact that it has been growing at a steady seven percent is something that we should applaud because that gives us the means to address some of the challenges that we see.
“The economy is vibrant, therefore we have hope, and we know that Nigeria has earned its place as the preferred destination for foreign investment in Africa. And many Nigerian businesses, especially the 32 million SMEs that we have in this country are investing in the economy and driving economic growth.”The minister, who also used the opportunity to speak on the Youth Enterprise with Innovation, YOUWIN programme, noted that many businesses that are trying to establish within the Nigerian economy, particularly the ones by young entrepreneurs, face lots of challenges, prominent of which is access to finance.
“Sadly this constraint has turned many of our enterprising youths into job seekers rather than job providers,” she added.She explained that the lessons drawn from the YOUWIN programme so far included the fact that government can get policy implementation right if it makes effort, and that if Nigeria must eradicate youth unemployment, then it must place the required premium on entrepreneurship.
*Jonah Nwokpoku – Vanguard