The Chairman of the United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc, Mr. Tony Elumelu has urged members of the French business community to always see Nigeria as their first choice investment destination in Africa.
Elumelu, who is also the Chairman of Heirs Holdings stated this in a speech he delivered as a guest speaker at the first “Colloque Nigeria,” a colloquium on doing business and investment in Nigeria, which was organized by the French Senate at the exquisite Palais de Luxembourg in Paris.
Speaking at the conference, the Founder of the Tony Elumelu Foundation said like every part of the world, investors in Nigeria and Africa are faced with a myriad of challenges, adding that amidst these challenges, no other destinations provided more opportunities and return on investment as do Nigeria and Africa.
“Nigeria remains a very viable, attractive and important investment and export destination for French companies. As a matter of fact, I would argue that now is a good time to come and invest in Nigeria, because it is an investor’s market. The fundamentals of the Nigerian economy remain strong”
“Nigeria has always been a unique country. We are not only the most populous country on the continent of Africa, we are amongst the best educated and most-travelled people in Africa.
“We Nigerians are well known for our positive outlook and can-do spirit. Even more importantly, we have a strong culture and spirit of entrepreneurship.
“The smart investor knows that this is the time to enter our market because the fundamentals of the Nigerian economy remain strong, and where others perceive risk and challenge, the glass is actually half full rather than half empty,” Elumelu said.
He asserted that despite the current challenges faced by Nigeria, occasioned by the sharp drop in commodity prices, the country still offers one of the highest returns on investment on the continent.
Citing the example of what UBA has been able to achieve in Nigeria, Elumelu said the pan-African bank has operated profitably in Nigeria for the past 70 years and in the last decade, increased its footprint into 18 other countries in Africa as it set up business offices in Paris, New York and London.
He thanked the investing community for their enthusiasm about investing in Nigeria, just as he urged them to “believe in Nigeria; come to Nigeria; discover Nigeria; invest in Nigeria; help develop Nigeria and prosper with Nigerians; and most importantly, take an Africapitalist approach to entering and investing in Nigeria because what we are looking for are sustainable partnerships that will deliver sustainable development through the private sector going about its normal commercial activities.”
Also speaking at the Colloque Nigeria summit, the President of the French Senate, Mr. Gerard Larcher stressed that the summit was strategic to French business interests, adding that Nigeria remains the first destination of French investment in sub Saharan Africa.