Onyema urges African governments to attract investments

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The Group Chief Executive Officer, Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Group Plc. Oscar Onyema has advised African governments to reposition their economies to attract financial investments.

Onyema said this while speaking to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on the sidelines of the ongoing 2023 African Investment Forum (AIF) marketplace in Marrakesh, Morocco.

He urged African leaders to
remove roadblocks, ensure connectivity to transportation, and boost money payment systems on the continent.

He, therefore, commended the Nigerian President, Bola Tinubu’s, administration’s effort toward ensuring a business-friendly environment for investors.

“We have talked about investments in human capital and ensuring that investors have a conducive environment when they come to a country to do business.

“All these things are very critical, and I am sure that Nigeria understands that when you look at what the current administration is doing.

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“There seems to be a significant focus on ensuring we have the right environment and infrastructure to support investors.

“And they are also going out there, telling investors that we want you to come and that we are open for business,” he said.

According to Onyema, these things are very important because investment flows are ubiquitous, and they will go where its easiest for them. So we understand that.

He said: “from the capital market perspective, we have been talking to investors; portfolio investors do not like uncertainty.

“They like transparency; they like to be able to model expected returns to be able to articulate risk and manage the risk.

‘So those are all very important things that our governments should be paying attention to as we try to attract investors.”

According to Onyema, the Nigerian Exchange Group Plc is at the AIF to showcase projects and connect with investors.

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While commending the AIF, he said it was a good platform that brought together various players: the governments that provided the facilitation, the project sponsors, and the investors.

On the effect of political risk on investors, he said political risks are not peculiar to Africa but are found everywhere in the world.

According to him, what is most important is the ability to fund and execute his project.

“The first thing to note is that one of the statistics the president of AfDB gave is that default rates in Africa is only 2.5 per cent, one of the lowest compared to other climes.

“Political risk exists everywhere in the world. Its not just Africa.

“But there seems to be a perception that because Africa is still experimenting with different political constructs, which are unstable, the numbers do not support them.

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“With regards to the projects that are funded, there is a lot of work that happens before it gets to the marketplace, so all the products are already bankable before they get here,” he said.

NAN reports that AIF is where bankable projects in Africa meet with investors; investors meet with Heads of State and Governments in investment board rooms.

It is also where investment comfort is given, risks are managed, and deals are closed.

AIF, founded in 2018, is a multi-stakeholder platform that has become the continent’s premier investment platform.

It is a flagship initiative of the AfDB, the Islamic Development Bank.

It has the European Development Bank, Afreximbank, Trade and Development Bank, Development Bank of Southern Africa, Africa Finance Cooperation, and Africa 50 as its Founding Partners.

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