Business leaders from across various sectors of the Nigerian economy gathered in Amawbia, Awka for the Anambra Business Roundtable (ABR) on Friday, March 16, 2018.
The roundtable facilitated by Afrinvest (West Africa) Limited was part of Governor Willie Obiano’s Second-Term Inauguration and was designed to highlight the potential of Anambra State as a leading hub for economic activity in Nigeria, considering its position as the state with the third highest contribution to Nigeria’s GDP and the third largest in commercial trade volume in Nigeria after Lagos and Kano.
His Excellency, Governor Willie Obiano set the tone for the event by reiterating his vision for the state to become the preferred destination for investments and industrialization in Nigeria. He also expressed his delight over having key public sector officials, the organized private sector and state development partners show their commitment by coming to the table for key discussions that would move Anambra state forward.
ABR 2018 brought to the fore the strategic importance of Anambra State in Nigeria’s economy, positioning it as a critical commerce nerve centre in the southern region of the country just like its counterparts, Lagos and Kano, in the western and northern regions respectively.
In addition, the geographical location of the state is one of its many advantages with its proximity to the Middle Belt and the South East, providing an easy distribution of trade between different regions in the country.
Despite being an oil-producing state, Anambra has become one of the major destinations for agriculture investment, providing it with a more diversified economy. It, therefore, became clearer at the event the importance of consolidating the potential within key sectors of the state.
According to Mark Okoye, the Commissioner for Economic Planning, Budget and Development in Anambra State, “On the back of economic and social activity within the state over the last 4 years, it became imperative to assess our progress in the 5 identified pillars: Trade & Commerce, Agriculture, Oil & Gas, Industrialization and Logistics; and explore the potential in other sectors like Hospitality, Entertainment, New Media and Technology, especially in view of current realities and global trends.”
Ike Chioke, GMD, Afrinvest kicked off discussions at the event, leading industry captains from various sectors to proffer real solutions to industry-specific issues ranging from agriculture to power, human capital development and even stakeholder management. In the course of deliberations, Kene Mkparu, MD, Filmhouse Cinemas, highlighted the need for value creation by local players within the state, while Amaechi Ndili, CEO, Golden Tulip stressed the need for strong foundational infrastructure, calling for institutionalized training to develop local talents.
The significance of building capacity in emerging sectors was also emphasized, with the founder of Level 5 Lab, Chika Nwobi, explaining the potential within Anambra state to build a software generating hub that would produce impressive revenues for both the state and its indigenes.
Furthermore, panellists agreed with the lead paper presenter, Chijioke Uwaegbute, Partner, PwC that the creative industry is more viable now than ever before, and Anambra has all it takes to close the existing vacuum in that space.
Anambra State undoubtedly has become an economic strong point in the southern region and the country, contributing up to 3% to Nigeria’s GDP. As home to the largest market in Africa and the first indigenous car manufacturing plant, Anambra boasts of immense growth in the agriculture sector attracting over $1.2b foreign direct investment whilst taking the leading position as one of the states with high growth of social infrastructure.
The state must, therefore, continue to showcase its wealth of advantages, socio-economic development, and ease of doing business, by answering the concluding call of H.E. Willie Obiano for indigenes to bring their investments, talents and resources home.