Lagos – Former President Olusegun Obasanjo on Thursday said that more investment in business would serve as insurance against unemployment and poverty in Africa.
Obasanjo made the observation while speaking at the 3rd Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Investment Forum in Lagos.
He spoke on the forum’s theme: The African Opportunity: Spotlight on West Africa.
Obasanjo said that insecurity, corruption, inadequate infrastructure and lack regional economic integration were the bane of investment in businesses in many African countries.
According to Obasanjo, investors will hesitate to set up businesses in a region that offers no sign of good returns on their investments.
“Investors can be very choosy about where they go.
“They are usually reluctant to go where there are no signs for future growth.
“Selecting an area to invest calls for lots of intelligence, great knowledge and mission,” he said.
Obasanjo said that investment in one West African country could affect other markets and create opportunities in the others.
“West Africa is a region that is naturally and richly endowed.
“The sub-region is the gateway to Africa’s possibility for growth.
“It has the largest population of about 300 million people and 15 countries.
“ECOWAS simply needs to make its regional and economic body ensure free movement of goods and services within member countries,” he said.
Mr Samuel Ortom, the Minister of State for Trade and Investment, said that the Nigerian government was committed to the diversification of the economy to create investment opportunities.
He said that Nigeria was one of the fastest growing economies in Africa, thereby making it an investment destination for international investors.
“There are opportunities for investment in our oil and gas, agro-allied, solid minerals and manufacturing sectors, “ he said. (NAN)