Nigeria is a very good place to come and invest in according Tony Elumelu, Chairman of Heirs Holdings and one of Nigeria's most successful businessmen.
Speaking at an interview with CNBCAfrica, during the World Economic Forum Forum on Monday January 27, 2014, Elumelu who wrote his Marshal Plan For Creating Employment in Africa, said the aim is to get about 122 millions Africas to work by 2020.
For a country with a population of 171m people, Elumelu said the number represents a huge market for investors. But besides that, he said there are opportunities in other sectors including economic, telecoms, oil and gas, power, transportation, real estate and hospitality, as well as the service sector.
He and his group took strong interest in infrastracture space and invested in the power sector. bought a big power plant with capacity to generate 1000mgw of elecricity. currenly generating about 400mgw and working to achieve full capacity by year end.
Asked whether he took advantage of the recent privatisation of the power industry in Nigeria - in a good way. He said the government decided to privatise and he believe that what the government did was the right thing and for that reason his group have took keen interest in the sector and are investing in it.
He said they believe that power is key to development of the African continent. Access to electricity is very important and they believe in `Afri-capitalism' which he said means "the private sector investing long term in sectors like power, that have the impact to help shape and develope the African continent - in the process creating economic benefits and social welfare for all."
He said investing in power was a demonstration of what they preach, as apostles of Afri-capitalism.
Asked about whether the call for industrial revolution in Africa is gaining traction, Elumelu said he was one of the appostles of industrial revolution in Africa and had written a piece in that regard entitled "Marshall Plan for Creating Employment in Africa."
He said his Marshal Plan recognises that generating employment for 122 million Africans by 2020 is a big task, but said it can be done if three conditions are met.
These, he said, are:
1) Investing in infrastructure such as power and energy sector because "When you investing in instractructure, you unleash the economy of the continent."
2) Putting in place the right policy to realise the full economic potential in Africa.
3) Ensuring that the continent industrialises and can process the huge raw materials that abounds in the continent, adding "That is where value will be added, that is where employment will come from."
He said he agreed with the position that industrialisation of the continent is necessary to ensure that raw materials are not sent abroad for processing, but are processed in Africa, adding.."it applies to Nigeria as it applies to the entire continent."
Elumelu said Nigeria is poised to take full advantage of the World Economic Forum which takes place in the Nigerian Capital Abuja in May 2014 saying it will be an opportunity to expose the disparity between people's perception of Nigeria and the reality on the ground.
He said I was born in Nigeria, studied there and live there and "the World Economic Forum will enable Nigeria to showcase itself as the right place to invest, live in and take advantage full economic opportunities."
Elumemu former Chairman of Standard Trust Bank, which merged with United Bank for Africa (UBA) in 2005, retired from UBA in 2010 and founded Heirs Holdings.
In 2011, Heirs Holdings bought controlling interest into Transnational Corporation of Nigeria Plc (Transcorp).
He was appointed Chairman of Transcorp - a conglomerate and publicly quoted business with interests in the agribusiness, energy, and hospitality sectors.
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