By Vincent Ujumadu
NO fewer than 3,000 corporate organizations and private businessmen and women from almost all the 36 states of the federation and Abuja, recently gathered at Agulu, Anambra State to grab a chunk of the $250 billion global capital for the African Continental Free Trade Area said to have been provided by the United States of America, USA, Canada, China, Japan and some European organizations for the third world countries.
The money was made available through bilateral agreements for the development of African countries.
Sources of the money included the USA Development Finance Corporation with $60 billion capital, the European Investment Plan, which has set aside E40 billion to support businesses in Africa; the Economic Partnership for Africa, which is for those who want to export to Europe, as well as the Africa Free Trade, which would take off in the first quarter of 2020.
The Golden Tulip Hotel, Agulu was filled to capacity, with some of the participants thinking that part of the money would be shared to them there. In fact, many of them armed themselves with documents just in case the organizers of the financial development strategy, might be disbursing part of the money.
But Dr. Nicholas Okoye, an investment expert and Chief Executive of ANABEL Group based in the USA, said although the money had been mapped out for businesses in Africa, it is not cash just waiting to be collected. Addressing the entrepreneurs and top government officials as part of his organization’s development strategy to enable the country’s businesses access the fund, Okoye who is the founder of Nicky Okoye Foundation, said the important thing is for business outfits to ensure that they could easily attract investors by putting their businesses on a sound footing.
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Okoye said: “We are passionate when it comes to growing businesses, entrepreneurship and global capital. So, primarily, our business is to encourage people to expand their businesses. If you have an idea and know how to bring that idea into fruition to become a global brand, we will assist you. Apart from private companies and corporate organizations, government-sponsored establishments are also beneficiaries from the capital.”
According to him, Africa with the highest growing population and young people in the world, had an advantage for future economic growth, adding that in the next 20 years, the majority of the world’s workforce would come from Africa because while populations of other continents were declining, those of African countries were increasing.
He said further: “Our people should therefore take advantage of the availability of these funds to grow their businesses so as to employ our people and grow our economy. As business people, we must also adopt good strategies if we want other people to invest in our business. It is that strategy that we have been able to articulate and share to people in the hope that our people will see the vision and redesign their businesses.
“So, it will be a huge opportunity for our people. However, it would also serve as a threat to those who could not upgrade their businesses. What this means is that we have to compete and we cannot hide anymore.
“We also have to be more strategic by looking into other markets in Africa. If you wait and cannot go into their markets, they will come and fight you in your market. You should therefore get prepared to go and fight them in their markets and this is going to happen in every product and service”.
Okoye also believed that Nigeria’s unemployment could be wiped out in three years if the right strategies were adopted to benefit from the China jobs that would soon be available, following that country’s decision to establish manufacturing companies in many countries, including those in Africa.
He said that another major source of funds for the country’s businesses was monies brought into the country by Nigerians in Diaspora, which according to him, might surpass the country’s crude oil sales in 2020. He added that last year alone, Diaspora Nigerians brought home $25 billion, which he described as a huge investment in the country.
“These monies being sent to Nigeria by her nationals abroad are available for the local entrepreneurs to benefit from if they position their businesses well,” Okoye said.