By Ben Agande
Kaduna—Governor Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna State, yesterday, said the state needs $95.5 billion to address infrastructure challenges for the next 30 years.
He spoke at the third edition of the Kaduna Investment Forum where the former President of Tanzania, Dr. Jakaya Kikwete, called on African countries to create conducive environment to entice investors to the continent.
According to el-Rufai, his administration had attracted investments into the state in the last two years, with 79 percent coming from outside the country.
The governor said: “The breakdown of the future infrastructure development between now and 2050 include the transportation sector, which requires N8 trillion, while N5.1 billion will be required annually in the education sector to build about 9,006 schools including tertiary institutions.
“Other sectors include the health system, which requires N158 billion, while N100 billion yearly is targeted for the water sector; agriculture, N53 billion, and 5,000 housing units will be developed annually all within the time frame of 2018-2050.”
The governor continued: “We have decided to focus more on domestic investment; we need to attract businesses in Kaduna by providing skilled work force.
“To encourage domestic investment in the state, government’s first priority is to build human capital by engaging in different activities where the young people are willing to be employed in businesses.”
He expressed optimism that the investments already attracted to the state will begin to yield fruits before the next summit next year.
According to el-Rufai, the investments attracted to the state include Kaduna Automobile Village, Green Economic Zone, Solar Power Project, Dangote-PAN Assembly Plant, Vilisco Textile Park and Arfa Dairy Farms and Ranches, among others.
Former Tanzania President’s take
In his keynote address, Dr. Kikwete said as critical as the possession of mineral resources is, it cannot take the African continent to desired destination of development.
His words: “A conducive investment environment is a very critical factor if you have a lot to offer. But if the investment climate is not conducive, people will not come.
“Perhaps, this is the most important factor that business people give closest attention to.
“It is a very serious consideration when choosing where to direct their investment to. It is almost a make or break factor for them— it is the ultimate.”