PRESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan has called on managers of African economies to close ranks as well as formulate policies that would attract critical investments beneficial to one another in order to bolster the individual economies and promote stronger socio-political ties in the continent.
Jonathan spoke in South Africa through his representative and Nigeria’s Minister of Finance and Co-ordinator of the Economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, at the formal opening of the Bayelsa Development and Investment Corporation (BDIC) African regional office in Johannesburg.
The President commended the Bayelsa State government for establishing the BDIC, which he noted, would attract a lot of good things to the state and the country. However, he urged Governor Seriake Dickson to put in place performance indicators to regularly monitor and measure the level of success as well as justify the establishment of the regional office in South Africa.
He further used the occasion to state that the Federal Government, through its transformation agenda, has already initiated programmes to diversify the Nigerian economy and create jobs for the teeming youths.
According to him, apart from the nation’s film industry, which has created so many job opportunities for the youths because of its growth rate as the third largest in the world, government was investing in critical areas such as agriculture and housing, as well as developing the solid minerals sector, among others.
On his part, South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma, represented by his Deputy Minister of Economic Development, Prof. Hlengiwe Mkhize, expressed satisfaction at his country’s existing political and economic ties with Nigeria, noting that both countries have the potential to provide economic leadership for Africa.
He commended the Bayelsa State government for establishing the BDIC regional office in South Africa, adding that it would encourage and support various efforts of the outfit to attract investments to Nigeria.
Earlier in his remarks, Governor Dickson explained that the establishment of the BDIC was an expression of his government’s determination to broaden and diversify the state’s economy by investing in critical areas such as tourism, agriculture and the maritime sector, among others.
According to him, his government was convinced that investments in key areas of the economy and the drive by the BDIC would attract investors from strong economies of the world to the state. More so, BDIC will propagate the state’s “enormous potentials for investments in the overall benefit of governments and peoples, especially in the post-oil era.”
The governor enumerated the boundless potentials and opportunities in the state and called on investors in South Africa and other nations to take advantage of the conducive investment climate in the state.
Meanwhile, the Deputy Managing Director of BDIC, Mr. Tamunoye Alazigha, listed the task before the establishment to include attracting investors from all major markets and economies around the world, charting a diversified economic base, protecting, stimulating and growing the wealth of all Bayelsans through responsive and sustainable investments that will turn the state into one of the top five economies in Nigeria and Africa.