- Credits natural and human resources
- Hails democracy and economic investments
- Commends investments on roads, rails,
- Mentions Nigeria as Africa’s biggest player
Former Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola has said that Nigeria is advantageously positioned to be the African greatest country based on the economic investments recorded in the last eight years.
He said mentioned that natural resources, human capacity and infrastructural investment as factors that could chart the course of greatness for Nigeria, adding that he was part of the team that made the achievements possible.
Fashola made these known during his keynote speech delivered at the 2023 Standard Chartered Treasury Leadership Forum tagged ‘The Blueprint for Tomorrow’ at Mike Adenuga Centre, Ikoyi, Lagos.
He said, “In offering my thoughts about a blueprint for tomorrow in Nigeria, I choose to deal with what I call first principles.
“I will deal locally and globally with what had happened, and is happening. What we all know and need to look at again, and from here hope to project what tomorrow offers.
“No part of the earth is new except those that are yet to be discovered by human beings. Powers, Nations and Countries have all existed in various forms and evolved differently.
“One first principle that History has taught us, is that Empires have risen and fallen and this will never stop as we are witnesses to some Empires now in decline.
“Simultaneously there is a renaissance in some places not the least Africa, and this brings on the significance of this gathering.”
Nigeria’s natural, capital endowments
The former Lagos governor said the rich blend of natural resources and human capital in the country, which has youth power is already a global market that cannot be overlooked.
Fashola said, “Let us look at Nigeria as the subject of tomorrow. A territory of 923,770 square Kilometers of land area, bounded by the ocean and desert, bejewelled with various natural resources and biodiversity with a 200 million human capital. A market to ignore at your peril.
“In an increasingly plural planet, at a time that diversity and identity have become not only a justice issue but also an economic one, the largest nation of black people in the world triggers more than a passing interest.
“At the heart of the human capital lies a youthful bulk, aged between 18 – 35 who are nowhere near the peak of their powers. A real advantage for tomorrow.
“As the world searches for a new global legal order acceptable to all, one thing is undeniable, prosperity will be anchored on soft power rather than military might.”
Surviving democratic principles, economic investments
He also said the country maintains the largest democracy on the Dark Continent, stressing that economic and business investments are built on it, mentioning oil and gas, ports as drivers of Nigeria’s success. built on this.
“That is why Nigeria sustains the largest democratic political undertaking on the African continent. It is a powerful statement of freedoms which businesses require to thrive.
“On the back of that and in recent years she has committed to an aggressive investment in her public infrastructure to support enterprise and her youthful and growing population.
“Expansion and upgrade of five major international airports in Lagos, Port Harcourt, Enugu, Kano, Abuja which, are strategic human and enterprise hubs, are an important statement of readiness for tomorrow.
“She is expanding her gas supply infrastructure and I point to the Ajaokuta – Kaduna- Kano project stretching across 614 Km at $3.2 Billion.
“Broadband infrastructure deployment is being deployed without fuss. On the Abuja-Makurdi 220km highway and the Kano-Maiduguri 560km, the ducts to lay fibre optic cable are being constructed and have been completed respectively.”
Refinery, rail projects, road networks
He also said, “A new refinery capable of processing 650,000 barrels of crude oil per day has come on stream and is about to commence production, inclusive of a petrochemical plant and fertilizer plant.
“This is complemented by a new seaport in the Lekki area of Lagos. These two projects alone account for $22 Billion dollars of local and international investment.
“Rail transport assets are also being developed and deployed for use. Road transport assets are being constructed in peace time at a rate only comparable to the post-civil war experience of the early 1970s.”
He added, “As at May of 2023 a total of N3.929 Trillion has been committed by 8 (Eight) companies to build 85 Roads covering 7,830.71Km under the Tax Credit Policy. This is money not yet spent but committed.
“In just 8 (Eight) years she has doubled her infrastructure to GDP from 20% to 40% and is not relenting.
“The significance for businesses that support construction such as quarry, lubricants, steel reinforcement, and cement is a matter of excitement for investors who play in these sectors.”
Nigeria as Africa’s biggest player
Fashola said, “For an investor looking at tomorrow, an increase of 16.03 million consumers with access to electricity and the possibility to increase that market share is what tomorrow is about.
“This is the size of the population of many countries put together within the African continent and in other continents. But it represents only part of our journey and the market demand for electric power.
“Undeniably on a continent of over one billion people the best place also is the biggest in economic output measured by GDP, and the place with the most diverse, most talented and most zestful human capital.
“When the conversation is about markets, size matters and Nigeria has it. The number of Nigerian-created unicorns, chart-bursting music and movies bear testimony to the productive capacity that resides in Nigeria. Remember what l said about soft power.
“On the back of the infrastructure hardware in transport, energy and digital areas are legislative and policy initiatives that would herald a new dawn tomorrow.”