Gov. Godwin Obaseki of Edo said his government was equipping the youth, building infrastructure, and diversifying the economy to ensure a prosperous and progressive state that could compete favourably with other sub nationals globally.
Obaseki said this when he received a trade delegation from Miami Dade County, Florida, the United States who came to explore business and investment opportunities in tourism, maritime and aviation sectors of the state.
The governor, who received the delegation at the Government House in Benin, said his government was working towards making Edo the economic and cultural capital of Africa.
He said government also targeted the right environment for the influx of investors into the state.
“For us in Edo, we are expecting a new Nigeria and a new Africa – An Africa that is confident in itself and its young people, and a Nigeria that is ready to compete on its own terms.’
“We are spearheading the confidence of a new generation, and re-educating our youths. We are building our infrastructure to diversify our economy.
“We are looking inwards into ourselves to discover our God-given opportunities. We must begin to produce the goods and services that we need so that we can exchange these goods for the rest of the world.
“In your few hours in Edo, I just want you to relax, use the opportunity to make friends; go round and see what you left behind a couple of 100 years ago so that you can begin to understand those great creative instincts in you and where they came from.
“For us, culture is powerful and our dream is to make Edo State the culture capital of Africa because this is where it prophetically started,” he added.
Earlier, the leader of the 40-man trade delegation, Mr Jean Monestime, said Edo would benefit from the US and Nigeria’s bilateral trade relations estimated at $3.2 billion worth of investment annually.
Monestime, who is Miami Dade Commissioner, District 2, Miami, Florida, United States, said the state would benefit from aviation, tourism and cultural investments, in affirmation of the U.S. and Nigeria relations, to build on existing trade relationships as key allies.
He said, “The United States and Nigeria currently trade more than $3.2 billion. I do not think that this pie is big enough for Edo State to receive its fair share of trade and Commerce with Miami Dade County.
“I have learned a little about the rich culture that you have here. So, we look forward to you bringing your delegation to Miami.
“So, you can basically share with us your thoughts about how you desire to promote this great State – Edo and how the exchanges may continue between Miami Dade and the State of Edo.
“We have amongst us, different business owners. We are not here to transact ourselves, but to transact business and tell you about the values that we have that you can take advantage of.
Such values “will be beneficial to the host state of yours and my immediate country, the United States,” he said.(NAN)