Hope Rises In Anambra As British Trade Delegation Storms Awka
The drive for foreign investment by the Willie Obiano administration hit a new high with the recent arrival of a British Trade Delegation in Awka, the state capital.
Led by Beverly Okoye, Deputy Director of UK Trade and Investments, the delegation held fruitful deliberations with Governor Obiano at the Governor’s Lodge in Amawbia where they expressed hopes of taking advantage of the favourable investment climate that the Obiano administration had created to seek wealth creation opportunities in the state.
The arrival of the delegation further confirms Governor Obiano’s determination to fulfil his Vision of making Anambra State the 1st Choice Investment Destination and a hub for industrialization and commercial activities as well as his Mission to make Anambra State a socially stable, business-friendly environment that would attract both indigenes and foreigners to seek wealth-creating opportunities.
Offering insight into the mission of the trade delegation, the Deputy Director of UK Trade and Investments, Beverly Okoye explained that the team was in Anambra to discuss potentials of collaboration with their counterparts in Anambra State.
According to her, the members of the delegation were impressed with Governor Obiano’s structured approach to governance and his efforts to secure Anambra State for residents and investors and had come to take advantage of the attractive potentials the state offers.
The delegation was made up of diverse businesses cutting across agriculture, housing, Information Technology, Education, general consultancy and raw materials valuation among others.
Also speaking, Mr. James Houston, a representative of the UK Networks and the British Nigerian Chamber of Commerce explained that his visit to Anambra was the first time UK Netwroks would do an agriculture focused mission to Nigeria. “Anambra is the first state we would have visited outside Lagos. We have done two agriculture focused trade missions from Nigeria to the UK in the last twelve months. We look forward to extending our reach elsewhere in Nigeria and we certainly hope for a base in the east,” he explained.
Kolawole Jasper who represents Mixgroup of UK explained that his company was in Awka to avail the government of its expertise in converting agricultural waste into housing. “We convert waste from rice to housing. Specifically, the straw from rice is used in constructing affordable housing for the people of Anambra State. Our intention is to collaborate with you to build a mega straw city for the people and we would be pleased to do business with you,” he assured.
Also explaining the reason for her involvement in the delegation, Angela Mackintile who represents Digi-soft Education stated that her company specialised in the production of an IT product known as Digital Costroom System. “It is specifically designed to enable communities to deliver educational content and training in environments which have challenges in terms of electricity and internet connectivity. It allows schools and agricultural training environments to reach rural communities and deliver the very best educational training content. So I am prepared to work with people here to be able to support those deliveries,” Ms Mackintile explained.
In his own words, Ris Mullet, the Trade Specialist for the PI Agritech Organization in the UK also explained that he was in Anambra to understand the needs of the state and direct UK investors to the state.
In his own remarks, Andrew Flemming, the Deputy Head of the Political Section of the British High Commission in Abuja praised the people of Anambra State for their dynamism and assured that he was ready and willing to lend political support to all the arrangements that would result from the mission.
Other notable members of the delegation are Mrs Joy Okwadigbo, representative of Portsmouth Highbury College, Richard Ferguson Agricultural Adviser of PrizeWaterHouse Coopers, Dr Katie Okafor, Director of PWG Limited, Patricia Okechukwu, Jenny Chika Okafor of Emerald of London and Obi Ezenwa of Pine, a raw materials valuation company.
Welcoming the delegation, Governor Obiano assured them that Anambra was ready to build fruitful collaborations with investors from all over the world.
“When we took over, we knew that security was critical to anything that we wanted to do. So we took care of that. Today, Anambra is the safest state in Nigeria. We also engaged a team of agronomists to determine where the various food crops would grow best and then set up farmers’ cooperatives to prepare our people for the agro-revolution,” Governor Obiano explained.
He assured the delegation of the safety of their investments, pointing out that Anambra had attracted about $3bn investments in the last 19 months.
It would be recalled that since he took over the reins of leadership in March 2014, Governor Obiano has made the drive for investment a top priority of his administration, attracting massive investments from local and foreign investors and trade missions from Thailand, The Republic of Ireland and now the United Kingdom.
There is growing hope in Anambra that the recent visit of the UK trade delegation would open the floodgate for more investors who may have been watching the efforts of the Obiano administration from the side-line.