Nigerian firm seeks improved bilateral ties among regional blocs
• Seals pact to drive investment in DRC
To further boost intra-African trade, especially among regional blocs, the Managing Director, Footprint to Africa, Osita Oparaugo has emphasised the need for investors to have a regular supply of reliable statistics on economic development in the continent in order to undertake and amplify investment decisions.
According to the firm, the economic development being sought by African economies may not be attained without an increase in the level of intra-African trade.
Signing a Memorandum of Understanding with the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to launch the Kinshasa International Investments’ Forum (KIIF), Oparaugo explained that the move would assist investors harness the investment potential of the country.
Speaking on the pact in a chat with The Guardian, Oparaugo stated that the KIIF would hold from the 25th to the 27th of November this year in Kinshasa, under the patronage of the President of Congo, Joseph Kabila as a measure of increasing investment in the country.
“DRC remains the world richest country when it comes to natural resources, second largest producer of diamond and large copper deposit. The opportunities are enormous and we want to bring the world into Congo to see the opportunities; to also see that in the last 15 years, the government of Congo has shown genuine interest in building the country.
“Companies in DRC are operating at sub-optional levels with low capacity utilisation that if matched with their counterparts from either Africa or outside the continent, the result will be improved output and by extension, an improved economy,” Oparaugo said.
Oparaugo, who is also a British trained Lawyer said, though corruption is killing Africa, he disclosed that the unavailability of data is causing more by hindering foreign investment into the continent.
“We conducted a research for about seven months and we realised that unavailability of data is seriously affecting businesses in Africa. Secondly there is no cooperation among African countries. The intra-African cooperation is just picking up. Africa needs to open up and see that most of what we are going out to look for in Europe and other continents are right here”, he stressed
Oparaugo said: “While this forum aims to showcase the tremendous investment opportunities in the Democratic Republic of Congo, it also seeks to attract investments that will aid the infrastructural development, particularly the rail and transport network, mining, telecommunication and agriculture as the DRC possesses 80 per cent arable land”.
Speaking about his plans for the continent, he said: “I have interest in developing Africa that is what Footprint to Africa is all about and of course small and medium scale enterprises. This is one of the ways to get to that destination. It may not happen over the night but you must have very strong small and medium scale enterprises as a mechanism to fire the main economy “.
He urged Nigeria to embrace economy diversification to harness the country’s abundance resources, stressing that the nation must not wait until its oil wells dry up.