The United States Latino American Chamber of Commerce (USLACC) Africa, has advocated making Nigeria and Africa one of the industrialised hubs of the world through investment promotion.
The President of the group, Dr Manolo Cevallos, said this on Tuesday in Abuja at a one-day African and Foreign Investors Trade Summit (AFRIFITS) for business people and entrepreneurs.
The summit had the theme: “Promotion of African Businesses, Synergy and Match Making Foreign Investors”.
Cevallos, who was represented by Amb. Ifeoma Ejiogu, USLAAC Africa Representative, said AFRIFITS was a creation of USLACC to catalyse Africa’s economic growth.
He said that the central goal was to make Africa one of the world’s hubs of industrialisation.
He said this would be achieved by bringing together foreign investors, Africans in Diaspora, African Business luminaries and friends of Africa to invest in the ‘immeasurable rich resources and opportunities’ that abound in the continent.
“AFRIFITS aims at reforming all sectors of the African economy and accelerating continental and international trade and investment.
“This would be achieved by building durable bridges between foreign business persons and potential business owners in Africa.
“This will solve the decades and centuries long myths that inhibit foreign investment in Africa,” he said.
Cevallos said USLACC, a public investment institute with headquarters in Los Angeles, California U.S., has been promoting bilateral foreign direct investments, infrastructural development and international trade between U.S. and other parts of the world.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geofrey Onyeama, said that Nigeria would continue to play its role as an investment destination in Africa.
Represented by Amb. Bolaji Akimremi, Director, Trade and Economy in the ministry, Onyeama commended USLACC for its efforts at giving industrialisation a new face in Africa.
He pledged, on behalf of the ministry, to continue to ensure that Africa and other countries of the world collaborated in area of investment.
The Vice- Chancellor, University of Abuja, Prof. Abdul Na’Allah, in his remarks promised that the university, as one of the modern universities, was ready to work with foreign investors to turn the university into a tourist centre in Nigeria.
He urged the organisation to carry the university along in its scheme of things.
Na’Allah expressed dissatisfaction at the on going strike in the nation’s universities saying it was sad and unpatriotic for Nigerians to allow the universities to be closed.
Sir Mike Okiro, former Inspector General of Police and the Chief Award Presenter, said security situation in any country could discourage investment.
“People invest where there is security of lives; people fear to invest because of insecurity.
“Insecurity has become a global phenomenon, so the issue is how to manage it,” he said.
Okiro called on Nigerians to work together with government and security agencies to fight insecurity in the nation.
The former Governor of old Anambra, Chief Chukwuemeka Ezeife, in his keynote address expressed concern at the level of corruption in the country and called for a change of attitude.
He said that Nigeria was destined for greatness and called for a collective effort to make it great as other nations of the world.
Mr Uche Egenti, Chairman Governing Board, Nigeria Building and Road Research Institute (NBRRI), and Chairman of the Occasion, said the programme was targeted at investment and industrialisation of Africa.
He called on business men and women and entrepreneurs in Nigeria to rise up and contribute toward the socio-economic status of Nigeria and by extension Africa.
“It is time for Africa to be industrialised. Government alone cannot do everything.
“It is time to reason together and develop concepts that would catapult Africa to the world,” Egenti said.
Speaking, Mr Bethran Uzodimma, Chief Executive Officer, Fratello Properties Ltd., and one of award recipients at the programme, expressed gratitude to God for the award.
Uzodimma, on behalf of other recipients, encouraged investors not to lose faith in Nigeria and other African countries with a lot of resources to harvest from and areas to invest in.
“There are great potential in Africa; there is the confidence that Africa would develop as other continents because she has what it takes to be great,” he said.
Presenting the award to Uzodimma, USLACC said Uzodimma was given the award for his philanthropic gestures.
Some of the gestures were building houses for the downtrodden and financing the education of children in his community and beyond.
“Earlier, Mr Daniel Ibrahim, ICT Lead, USLACC Africa, in his review of AFRIFITS said that Africa was on the road to a better tomorrow.
He said the programme was to deliberate on how to improve on the economy of Africa.
According to Ibrahim, the organisation is also in Kenya, Uganda, Togo and Ghana to forge relationships with small and medium enterprises and connect them to the rest of the world.
He said the objectives were for wealth and value creation and business development opportunities enhancement.