Osinbajo meets Vietnam’s president, harps on why Nigeria is best place to invest in Africa
Nigeria is the best, most natural destination for investment in Africa, and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam can leverage the cherished friendship with Nigeria to gain entry to the vast Nigerian and African markets, said Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
Osinbajo made this assertion at his meeting with Vietnamese President, Nguyen Xuan Phuc, who also expressed strong commitments to leverage and deepen existing diplomatic relations and friendship with Nigeria for economic development, especially in areas of agriculture, oil and gas, and telecommunications.
Both leaders interacted in what was a very friendly and warm encounter when Osinbajo paid a courtesy call on Phuc, as the Vice President wrapped up a three-day official visit to Vietnam.
The Vietnamese leader had come outside the building to personally receive the Vice President and held his hand as they both walked inside the Presidential Palace.
At the end of the meeting, President Phuc, again, escorted Osinbajo outside and, this time went all the way to see him to his car and waved as the convoy drove off.
The Vice President had, in the first two days of his visit, held talks with his counterpart, Madam Vo Thi Anh Xuan, and Prime Minister, Pham Minh Chính.
He also met the Vietnamese business community under the auspices of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), visited the Vietnam Academy of Agricultural Sciences, the FTP University and its software firm, and also interacted with representatives of the Nigerian community in Vietnam.
On Tuesday, while speaking at the VCCI, Osinbajo had said Nigeria remains the most intuitive place to do business, observing that despite the economic slowdown in the aftermath of the pandemic, GDP growth has been positive for the last seven quarters and though it slowed to 2.3 per cent on a year-to-year basis in the third quarter of this year, it was a 9.7 per cent increase over the second quarter.
He said: “Apart from being the most populous country in Africa, Nigeria also has the continent’s largest economy, accounting for over 20 per cent of continental GDP. The Nigerian private sector has undertaken large path-breaking investments in the country in agriculture, manufacturing, petrochemicals, finance, telecommunications and digital economy.”
In terms of market viability, Osinbajo noted that Nigeria continues to rank very high, explaining how “our people are renowned for being energetic and tech-savvy, with over 60 per cent of the population below 25 years of age.”
In the tech space, the Vice President said “between 2015 and last year, six Nigerian tech-based companies have been certified as unicorns. These are companies valued at over a billion U.S. dollars each.
“Nigeria is also now home to over 200 stand-alone FinTech companies, plus a number of FinTech solutions offered by banks and mobile network operators as part of their product portfolio. Between 2014 and 2019, Nigeria’s bustling FinTech segment raised over $600 million in funding and attracted a quarter of the almost $500 million raised by African tech startups in 2019 alone.”
He stated further: “The creative sector which employs over four million people and has the potential to add 2.7 million by 2025, is ranked the second largest employer of labour after the agricultural sector.
“We are on course to become the third largest national market, based on headcount by the year 2050. We are already the largest financial market in Africa with a market capitalisation in excess of $50 billion as of the end of last year.”
On his part, President Phuc welcomed the Osinbajo to Vietnam, saying: “We appreciate the gesture of you coming from Africa, based on our cherished friendship and partnership.”
He assured the Vice President that further discussions would be held on the aspirations of Vietnamese entrepreneurs investing in Nigeria, especially in the areas of agriculture, technology, telecommunications, oil and gas, among others.
Specifically regarding agriculture, Phuc said rice production is one of the strengths of the country, and as such, the collaboration between both countries can enhance Nigeria’s rice production capacity.
Commenting on the Vice President’s previous meetings with the Vietnamese Vice President and Prime Minister, Phuc noted that the outcome of the interactions has been good.
He said: “We have reached a consensus on many issues. We have a lot of potentials to explore.”