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*Nigeria: Tapping Anambra Investment Potential
By Esin Suji
One of the enduring features of the development process in Nigeria is the dominance of the public sector [Government]. However, over the years – with growing populations and wider needs – there is increasing awareness that Government can no longer go it alone. This is the raison d’être for local and foreign investments to grow economies. The focus here is Anambra State which enjoys the benefit of a successful industry captain as Governor.
Opportunities for profitable and mutually-beneficial investments abound in virtually all sectors of the economy and society. Highlights of these investment options speak volumes. With its rich flora and fauna, large tracts of arable as well as bodies of water, the State boasts an array of agricultural investments:
• Food Crops – Rice, Cassava, Yams, Cocoyams, Bananas & Plantains, Vegetables, Fruits
• Cash Crops – Palm Produce [Oil, Kernels, Feeds], Forestry resources.
• Livestock/Animal Husbandry – Cattle, Sheep, Goats, Rabbits, Snails, Poultry, Bees and exotic animals [popularly known as ‘Bush Meat’].
• Fishing & Fisheries.
• Agro-allied Industries – Food Processing & Packaging, Fruit Juice, Vegetable Oils, Furniture making, Raffia Palm & Bamboo products, Palm Wine bottling, Gin Distilleries, Honey production, Agro-Inputs [Fertilizers, Pesticides, Animal/Poultry Feeds, etc.].
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Photo Above: Map of Anambra State, Nigeria.
Attractive returns are also available from the exploitation/mining of rich deposits of petroleum crude oil, natural gas, bauxite and iron ore, sand stone, lignite, kaolin, clay and coal. As a matter of fact, the first Nigerian private refinery Orient Petroleum Refinery (OPR) is sited in Nsugbe-Umuleri area, with a proposed capacity of 55,000 barrels per day. A range of other options would embrace manufacturing of domestic and industrial products as well as cultural industries, including arts and crafts; and fabrication of appliances, spares and accessories.
Infrastructural development offers tremendous opportunities as well. Included here are highways, metro line, aerodromes, access/rural roads, power plants, new towns development, modern markets and shopping malls. For a developing economy like Anambra’s, there are also wide-ranging options for investments in support services such as potable water supply schemes; health and veterinary services; educational services [including skill acquisition centres for Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises – MSMEs]; information & communication technology [ICT] services; maritime services [inland waterways; haulage and passenger services; cable bus network; machinery and equipment leasing, hire, supplies, maintenance and repairs; waste disposal and management. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Governor Peter Obi (Photo 3)
There are also investment options in the hospitality industry, including tourism [packaged tours, lodges and cabins], resorts, hotels, amusement parks, stadia and other forms of commercial entertainment. The pick is extensive. For starters, the State is widely known as main custodian of Igbo civilization, largely symbolized by Igbo-Ukwu and Nri, even as Nnewi is acknowledged as a technological enclave; Awka the legendary heart of blacksmithing & wood carving; and Onitsha the largest commercial centre in West Africa.
The natural tourism endowments include lakes and other waters with unique features: Agulu Lake whose source is not clear, Amaokpala Lake, Nawfia Lake, Obutu Lake, Otumoye Lake, Okpu Ana Natural Spring [Ukpor]. There are caves with religious, judicial and recreational significance: Ogbunike Cave which hosts a lion, bush python labyrinth of tunnels, several chambers and the source of spring water; Owerre-Ezukala Cave with features to develop a swimming pool, landscapes, gardens and a powerful waterfall; Ajalli Cave. ( Continues below...... )
Photo Above: Ogbunike Cave. *Ogbunike Cave is one of the greatest wonders of nature. It is located in Ogbunike, a few miles to Onitsha, largest city in Anambra State and one of largest commercial centers in Nigeria.
Public-Private Partnerships and private initiatives are available in the development and improvement of such other hospitality revenue earners as Kenneth Dike Park [Awka], Nkisi Boat Yard [near River Niger, Onitsha], Mamu Forest Reserve [Orumba North LGA], Otuocha Forest Reserve [Anambra East LGA], Otuocha Sand Beach [Anambra East LGA] and Rojenny Tourist Village [Oba].
Procedures and incentives for investments have been liberalized even as investors are assured of international legal protection and returns. And, as attested to by visitors and residents alike, the security situation in the State has improved tremendously. The Obi administration has strengthened grassroots policing through subventions to vigilance services, while regular security agencies get monthly support in funds and equipment.
Under the present dispensation, quite a number of Nigerian and international investors have been demonstrating practical interest in Anambra State. Among these are Wicklove [in partnership to revitalize and run the giant rice mill at Omor]; AMBA Investicorp, Nkwelle-Ezunaka [partnership to resuscitate the State-owned Integrated Livestock Company]; SABMiller Breweries, Onitsha [investing some US$100 million in the first phase]; Dencar Services/Eaglefin Structured Finance Mauritius [building a 260 megawatt capacity plant]; Innoson Motor Manufacturing Company, Nnewi [first of its kind in Nigeria]; Orange Drugs Industrial Complex, Onitsha; Chikason Group of Companies, Nnewi; Neem-Fertilizer Plant [in partnership with the Federal Government]; Juhel Parenteral Drugs Complex, Awka; and Brown Sugar Factory, Omor. Meanwhile, Phase 1 of the Business Park project is fully functional – housing financial institutions, Securities & Exchange Commission, Nigerian Stock Exchange, brokerage firms, among others. Phase 2 is nearing completion; its funding derived from revenue generated from Phase 1.
To strengthen its strategic partnerships and further attract investments to the area, the Government recently hosted an investors’ forum as part of the State’s twentieth anniversary. The platform attracted guests from within and outside Nigeria. Critical issues in focus included investments in medicine [specialist hospitals, technology transfer & capacity building]; potable water supply to the rural communities [micro-grid, etc.]; water treatment; energy from waste technology; combating environmental pollution; fish farming; project [especially infrastructure] financing; vocational & technical education; and housing development.
Indeed, Anambra State is irreversibly on the path of sustainable prosperity and development, which discerning investors could join in a mutually-beneficial relationship. There is always a welcome mat for the genuine investor.
Esin Suji writes from Owerri, Imo State, Nigeria.
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