By Christian ABURIME
September 8 (Newshour.com.ng) – Government of Anambra State, has hosted the world at its maiden Investment Summit.
The Summit which was held at Anambra International Convention Centre, Awka witnessed the signing of Memorandum of Understanding, MoUs between the state government and thirteen organisations.
The organisations include, Universal Elysium Ltd for the development of Onitsha River Port, Birsa Water Ltd and Neni Development Union for the development of Neni Water Scheme, OMAA Global Engineering and Tech for the development of AUU Automative Industrial Park and Nko Farms Ltd for the development of Nko Agro Park.
Other MoUs were signed with GVE Projects Ltd for the development of Green Village Electrification, Sundry Markets Ltd for the development of Awka Shopping mall, CPCs Transcommunication Ltd for delivery of master plan for Anambra Intra-City Rail, connecting Awka, Ekwulọbịa, Nnewi and Onitsha, Mahendra Consulting Engineering Ltd for Ikenga Mixed-Use Industrial City and Afrexim Bank.
For the development of Anambra Pharmaceutical Hub at Ogboji, the government signed MOUs with Nimet Pharmaceuticals, Dozzy Group, Green Life Pharmaceuticals and Association of Industrial Pharmacists of Nigeria.
Speaking at the occasion, Governor Chukwuma Charles Soludo pointed out that Anambra State is open for business and is eager to attract investors from all over the world.
He highlighted the state’s many advantages, including its strategic location, large population, and young and educated workforce, revealing that Anambra State is on the move and the journey is on course with an economic size of 20 billion dollars.
He said that it was important that the world knows that Anambra state has the highest population density per square kilometer after Lagos.
“We have boundaries with Kogi, Delta, Enugu, Abia, and Imo states; have the largest market in West Africa and have fifteen major higher education institutions.
“Anambra is ranked first out of the seventeen states in Southern Nigeria on ease of doing business and seventh out of 36 states in the country.
“Security, law and order is improving. We are addressing our infrastructural deficiencies. We have signed an MOU to address power. We have gas pipelines being planted to enhance Anambra’s electricity market. Our rail feasibility study and master plan is on course.
“We are installing a 2000-kilometer fiber optic duct to give people access to cheap internet. We are breaking the decade-old jinx about the availability of rural and pipe-borne water schemes. We are building industrial parks and cities, export emporium, and agricultural regeneration projects, and others” the Governor said.
He reeled out other efforts of his government to transform the state economy, such as turning importers into producers and exporters, the sports economy, leisure, entertainment, the Solution Fun City and Entertainment Leisure City, among others.
“We are intentional and deliberate about the sports economy, leisure, and entertainment in Anambra. At the next summit, we will take you around the Solution Fun City and Entertainment Leisure City.
“Our goal is to turn Anambra from a departure lounge to a destination. In a few years, any visitor who has not been to Anambra has not been to Nigeria.
“We are prioritizing our human capital. Our greatest resource is human capital. In Anambra State today, a Certificate of Occupancy can now be obtained within 3-5 days.
“Our biggest existential threat is the environment. We are planning towards a green, clean, and sustainable environment and having organized markets.
“We are the world’s capital of gully erosion and we are putting in a few billions to fix that. We have come with a comprehensive agenda and laws for the environment and we are waiting for the State House of Assembly to rescue our environment,” the Governor noted.
The Governor made it clear to potential investors that Anambra State is firing on all cylinders and that the summit is unlike any other.
“It is different because it is not about talking, but symbolically signing some deals in a few minutes’ time.
“We have acquired 106 hectares of land in Ukpo Ukwulu, to create an export free trade zone. We are encouraging the emergence of MSMEs in the state, from project development to execution. We are investing in project development, taking it to the point of bankability.
“We have also acquired 7000 hectares of land, which will be developed into a complete industrial city. A master plan for it is being developed.
“A pharmaceutical industrial hub and an automotive industrial park are also on the way. We are forging productive partnerships with investors, financial institutions, and the federal government.
“We will have ANSIPPA enlarge its scope and to establish a financial arm, if necessary, to help propel our aim; if we are not getting the kind of partnerships we are expecting.
“The EEDC Metering company in Oraifite is ready for commissioning. We have a long list of industries to commission, so long as they are made in Anambra,” Soludo said.
The Governor noted that out of dozens of MOUs to be signed, he has symbolically chosen a few.
“We are deliberately creating a land bank for industrialization and investment. We will provide gas and power there.
“We will do everything to encourage our investors to help their businesses prosper and to de-risk their investments in Anambra,” he stressed.
Governor Soludo further appreciated his predecessor, who conceptualized and built the international convention center and assured that he will complete the airport which his predecessor started.
“Though I have not discussed it with him, we will rename this magnificent edifice to be the Willie Obiano International Convention Centre if he accepts.
“And we will celebrate several of our prominent ndi Anambra who deserve it. We will be deliberate in celebrating our best. We will honor those who invest in Anambra to create jobs. The young ones will see that hard work, enterprise, and those who make contributions to society are rewarded. If you are about that, I will be your chief marketer,” the Governor remarked.
In a keynote address, Dr. Benedict Oramah, the President of the African Export-Import Bank, who was represented by its Executive Vice President, Kanayo Awani commended the Governor for setting the stage for this transformational journey.
According to him, the vision of a smart megacity is not just about infrastructure, but also about creating an ecosystem that uplifts and fosters prosperity using financial and non-financial capacities.
“Our bank has identified the emergence of industrial parks and free trade economic zones because they will provide employment and drive economic scale. We are ready to support Anambra as we are doing in Ogun and Abia states. Peace and security is gradually returning to the state,” he stated.
The summit which was attended by a wide range of potential investors as well as representatives from the government, the private sector, and civil society had participants discuss the opportunities for investment in Anambra State and the challenges that needs to be addressed.
Deputy Governor of Anambra State, Dr Onyekachukwu Ibezim, Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Somtochukwu Udeze, members of the diplomatic corps, captains of industry, the Resident Coordinator of United Nations in Nigeria, Mr. Mathias Schmale, World Bank Country Director, Shubham Chaudhuri, Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. CUI Jianchun, Minister of Women Affairs, Barr. Uju Kennedy Ohanenye, Chairperson, Manufacturing Association of Nigeria, Anambra, Enugu and Ebonyi Chapter, Lady Ada Chukwudozie, Members of Anambra Executive Council, Transition Committee Chairmen, Traditional Rulers, among others, attended the summit.
It had the theme; “Laying the Foundation for a Prosperous and Smart Mega City.”