Nigeria has 76 per cent of ECOWAS’ economy, says Okonjo-Iweala

Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

Ms. Okonjo-Iweala says Nigeria also has 30 per cent of the economy in sub-Saharan Africa and 21 per cent of Africa’s economy.

The Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, said on Monday that Nigeria’s economy constituted 76 per cent of the economy of Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS.

Ms. Okonjo-Iweala made the assertion at a news conference on the World Economic Forum, WEF, on Africa beginning in Abuja on Wednesday.

She said that aside from the ECOWAS economy, Nigeria also has 30 per cent of the economy in sub-Saharan Africa and 21 per cent of Africa’s economy.

The minister said that it is, therefore, meaningful that the economic forum on Africa was being held in Nigeria.

According to her, the meeting is in line with efforts to ensure that we have inclusive growth in the country.
Ms. Okonjo-Iweala explained that the sessions at the forum would dwell on issues that would enunciate the best ways to ensure that jobs were created in Africa to help reduce inequality.

Other issues that the forum would focus on, she said, include skills creation and better service by public workers.

She added that civil society groups and the private sector, would fully participate all the activities at the forum.

Ms. Okonjo-Iweala said that many initiatives which would be highly beneficial to Nigeria would be floated at the sessions of the forum.

“There are specific things that will be of benefit to us as Nigeria for the forum being held here.
“The first is that there are several initiatives; we have the Grow Africa Initiative which is for funding of agriculture in the continent.

“They have been able to raise about N7 billion investments and about half of it will be coming to Nigeria and also the healthcare initiative designed to strengthen access to health care which many of it will be coming to Nigeria.

“A skills initiative is being launched by WEF and within that, we are going to see a new initiative of Safe Schools being launched by the private sector in Nigeria.

“Aliko Dangote, Nduka Obiagbena together with Mr. Gordon Brown, former British Prime Minister and UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Education, would take charge of the session,’’ she said.

She explained that “safe schools initiative” would be geared towards the North-East zone of the country and would be of great benefit to women and girls.

On security, the minister said that government had made much commitment to ensure that the abducted school girls at Chibok in Borno are rescued.

She also assured all delegates to the economic forum of their safety, adding that the closure of public offices during the period of the forum as announced by President Goodluck Jonathan was to ease traffic in the city.

“I can assure you that the delegates will be okay; the venue, hotels will be secured and the number of security personnel will be encouraging,’’ she said.

On investment, she said that the nation’s economy “with positive macro-economic indicators” had continued to draw the interest o local and foreign investors.

She said that various government initiatives in agriculture, manufacturing, housing, solid minerals and others would continue to grow investors’ interest.

“Two foreign investors, UNILEVER and Blumberg, have indicated interest to invest $150 million and $250 million, respectively.

“Blumberg wants to make Nigeria logistic hub for Africa,’’ she said.

The three-day economic forum billed to start on Wednesday has the theme “Forging Inclusive Growth, Creating Jobs”.
(NAN)


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