Nigeria is the best, most natural destination for investment in Africa and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam can leverage the cherished friendship with Nigeria to gain entry to the vast Nigerian and African markets, according to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN
Prof. Osinbajo made this assertion at his meeting this morning with Vietnamese President Nguyen Xuan Phuc, who also expressed strong commitments to leverage and deepen the existing diplomatic relations and friendship with Nigeria for economic development, especially in the areas of agriculture, oil and gas, and telecommunications.
Both leaders interacted in what was a very friendly and warm encounter when Prof. Osinbajo paid a courtesy call on the President as the VP wrapped up a 3-day official visit to Vietnam. The Vietnamese leader had come outside the building to personally receive the Vice President and held his hand as they both walked inside the Presidential Palace. At the end of the meeting, President Phuc again escorted the VP outside and this time went all the way to see him to his car and waved as the VP’s convoy drove off.
The VP had in the first two days of his visit held talks with his counterpart, Madam Vo Thi Anh Xuan, and Prime Minister, Phạm Minh Chính. He also met the Vietnamese business community under the auspices of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), visited the Vietnam Academy of Agricultural Sciences, the FTP University and its software firm, and also interacted with representatives of the Nigerian community in Vietnam.
On Tuesday while speaking at the VCCI, Prof. Osinbajo had said Nigeria remains the most intuitive place to do business, observing that despite the economic slowdown in the aftermath of the pandemic, GDP growth has been positive for the last seven quarters and though it slowed to 2.3% on a year-to-year basis in the third quarter of this year, it was a 9.7% increase over the second quarter.
“Apart from being the most populous country in Africa, Nigeria also has the continent’s largest economy, accounting for over 20% of continental GDP. The Nigerian private sector has undertaken large path-breaking investments in the country in agriculture, manufacturing, petrochemicals, finance, telecommunications and the digital economy,” he added.
In terms of market viability, Prof. Osinbajo noted that Nigeria continues to rank very high, explaining how “our people are renowned for being energetic and tech-savvy, with over 60% of the population below 25 years of age.”
In the tech space, the VP said “between 2015 and last year, 6 Nigerian tech-based companies have been certified as unicorns. These are companies valued at over a billion US dollars each.
“Nigeria is also now home to over 200 stand-alone FinTech companies, plus a number of FinTech solutions offered by banks and mobile network operators as part of their product portfolio. Between 2014 and 2019, Nigeria’s bustling FinTech segment raised over $600 million in funding and attracted a quarter of the almost $500 million raised by African tech startups in 2019 alone.”
He stated further that “the creative sector which employs over 4 million people and has the potential to add 2.7 million by 2025, is ranked the second largest employer of labour after the agricultural sector.
“We are on course to become the 3rd largest national market, based on headcount by the year 2050. We are already the largest financial market in Africa with a market capitalization in excess of US$50 billion as of the end of last year.”
And also today in his conversation with the Vietnamese leader, the Vice President informed President Phuc about his engagements in Hanoi and restated that there is great potential for stronger and more fruitful collaborations between Vietnam and Nigeria.
According to Prof. Osinbajo “building on our friendship, we are looking forward to a greater number of Vietnamese investments in Nigeria and Africa by extension.”
He re-emphasized the advantage of Nigeria’s membership of AfCFTA, saying “Nigeria offers one of the best investment destinations in Africa, some of the best investment conditions in Africa because, among other things, Nigeria is the gateway to Africa.
“We believe that if Vietnam investments come into Nigeria, it will have the potential of penetrating the gates of West Africa and the entire continent.”
The Vice President identified areas of investments for the Vietnamese business community to include renewable energy, solar power plants (in furtherance of international agreements to reduce gas emission by 20%) and telecommunications, noting that “Nigeria is a fantastic opportunity for investment.”
On his part, President Phuc welcomed the VP to Vietnam, saying “we appreciate the gesture of you coming from Africa based on our cherished friendship and partnership.”
He assured the VP that further discussions would be held on the aspirations of Vietnamese entrepreneurs investing in Nigeria, especially in the areas of agriculture, technology, telecommunications, oil and gas, among others.
Specifically regarding agriculture, President Phuc said, rice production is one of the strengths of the country, and as such, the collaboration between both countries can enhance Nigeria’s rice production capacity.
Commenting on the VP’s previous meetings with the Vietnamese VP and Prime Minister, the President noted that the outcome of the interactions has been good. He said, “we have reached a consensus on many issues, we have a lot of potentials to explore.”