By Salisu Sani-Idris
Vice President Kashim Shettima has urged foreign investors to take advantage of the opportunities in Nigeria as the country is ready for business.
Mr Olusola Abiola, Director, Information,
Office of the Vice President, in a statement, said Shettima made the call in his remarks at a side event of the ongoing UN Food Systems Summit.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the theme of the summit is, “Scaling up of multi-stakeholder collaboration and investments in the implementation of the food systems pathways in Nigeria.”
The vice president noted that the combination of Nigeria’s young, energetic population and the agenda of the new administration, placed the country far ahead of others in the region.
” We have the capacity of transforming the demograhic bulge into demographic dividends or it will be the demographic disaster that will consume all of us.
“Nigeria will surpass the United States as the third most populous nation on earth and the population is young. The median age is 19.”
“With determined leadership and the support of the global community, we believe, as eternal optimists do, that there is hope in the horizon,” the VP added.
Shettima also expressed hope that the expected transformation could take place on the back of what he described as “building blocks that already exists in Nigeria.
“They include government’s recent declaration of a State of Emergency on Food Security, moving food and water to the purview of National Security Council, the country’s renewed commitment to food and nutrition since the Nutrition Conference of 2022.
On improving collaboration between government and the private sector, Shettima said focusing on agribusiness and the understanding that investment that would transform food system would come from the private sector, with the government providing the enabling environment, would scale up investment.
” Nigerian government, together with domestic and international finance institutions, scaled up the Value Chain Development Programme approach for the Special Agro Processing Zones Programme with an impressive investment of 521 million dollars from the IFAD, from the IsDB, and from the AfDB.
“The success story of the value chain development programme speaks for itself. The programme has empowered 100,000 small scale farmers to enter into engagement with some of the food marketing companies in the world which enabled them to lift their families out of the poverty trap.
“The VCDP/SAPZ programme really represents unique and concrete model for mobilizing funds for investment in support of our national food systems transformation programme, the transition to more yielding, healthier, more equitable and more sustainable food system.”
Shettima, who said Nigeria remained critical to the success or failure of the transition, assured that the new leadership in Nigeria was working hard to position the country on the path of growth.
” We have a president who has a private sector background and a vice president who is also from the private sector. We have a president who has the knack for selecting the best to drive the process.
“Be rest assured that the next frontiers for global development is facing Africa and Nigeria will make or mar that transition.”
Present at the event were Mr Yaya Olaniran, Nigeria’s Permanent Representative to FAO/IFAD/WFP in Rome; Nigerian Ambassador to Italy, Mr. Mfawa Abam; Deputy Chief of Staff to the President in the Office of the Vice President, Amb. Ibrahim Hadejia, among other senior government officials. (NAN)
Edited by Idris Abdulrahman