Saturday, August 04, 2012

The problem with wooing foreign investors

This morning, I read the following tweet:

"@NigeriaNewsdesk: Aviation Minister Stella Oduah and some officials of the Ministry will today embark on a foreign investment drive to woo foreign investors."

This is plain wrong. These fellows should rather say they need a vacation, or could use some estacode.

Very simply put, embarking on trips does not woo foreign investors. Investors are smart business-men, they don't think with their behinds.

1 in every 4 black Africans is Nigerian. We have a rapidly growing population, and according to data I obtained a few months ago - an average of 6.1 babies per woman. That is something. Every investor wants a piece of that.

Compared to developing markets where companies record single digit growth, many times below 5% - established FMCGs record up to 35% growth in Nigeria - year on year for multiple years!

These investors are not dumb, they want to come. The problem is the cost of doing business.

Rather than spend taxpayer's money (well, it's really Crude Oil money they're spending - so they don't feel accountable to us) travelling round the globe and 'wooing' investors that will turn around and laugh at you - how about driving the cost of doing business down?

All we need is a focused leadership, to create realistic visions and glide-paths - and challenge the people to believe again. Fix the rot in the power sector, unclog the ports, fix transportation, take a strong stand against corruption, etc etc...

And watch foreign investors come running to woo us instead!

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