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Anambra State: An Open Door to Europe and the World - Willie Obiano

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A Keynote Address Delivered by the Governor of Anambra State, His Excellency, Chief Willie Obiano at the Nigeria-Austria Business Forum in Vienna, Austria on June 28, 2018.


Protocol
I feel honoured to be here. I bring you greetings from the good people of Anambra State. Anambra is one of Nigeria’s leading states. We are rich in both human and material resources. Anambra is the birthplace of Nollywood; the second largest film industry in the world today in terms of output. Anambra is blessed with natural gas, crude oil, bauxite, kaolin, salt, gypsum, lead, lignite, limestone and iron ore among others. We have the largest retail market in West Africa. With an economy of N3.8 trillion, Anambra has the lowest poverty rate in Nigeria with $1,615 per capita. And if Anambra were an independent country, our GDP would be 17th in Africa. We have great tourism potentials with the Ogbaukwu Caves and Waterfalls in Owerre-Ezukala and Ogbunike Cave in Ogbunike. Anambra is the 10th most populous state in Nigeria with a population density of 860 per square kilometre. And in the past four years, we have been Nigeria’s safest state. 

With these impressive fundamentals, my team and I had our work cut out for us when we assumed office four years ago. So, we rolled out a comprehensive Economic Blueprint with clear and measurable Vision and Mission Statements. We declared that our Vision was – To be the first choice investment destination and the hub for Industrialization and commercial activities. We said that our Mission would be – To create a socially stable, business friendly environment that will attract both indigenes and foreigners to seek wealth creating opportunities in Anambra State. Our Economic Blueprint is made up of Six Pillars which include Agriculture, Industrialization, Trade and Commerce, Oil and Gas, Logistics and the Creative Economy and 14 Enablers which include Security, Education, Health and the Environment among others. 

The Journey so Far
When we assumed office on March 17, 2014, we knew that no matter how bright our ideas or how eloquent our rhetoric was, if we failed to tackle the persistent challenge of insecurity in Anambra State, we would be dead on arrival as an administration. So, we designed a security architecture that helped us stamp out crime of all shades from Anambra State. We quickly mounted a subtle campaign that restored the confidence of the people in the ability of the government to play its role in securing lives and property in the state. The result was immediate growth on all key areas of development. Commercial activities began an immediate rise, socio-cultural activities revived on their own and investors turned to Anambra as their preferred destination for new ventures. Consequently, we established the Anambra State Investment Promotion and Protection Agency (ANSIPPA) to anchor our investment drive. The Agency swiftly became a One-Stop investment powerhouse, offering first class solutions to all investment enquiries. It signed 42 MoUs across various sectors in the state valued at $5.4 billion out of which $1.6 billion came from the indegenes of the state alone. ANSIPPA has also sealed a partnership for the construction of a $17 million bonded container terminal in Ozubulu and has applied to the federal government for concessionary rights on Onitsha-Enugu Expressway and the Onitsha River Port to enable the state drive its own vision of infrastructural development to fulfilment. 

Ladies and gentlemen, I think we have an inspiring story. Anyone who is familiar with the recent history of Anambra State would testify that out of a rocky mountain of despair, we have hewed out an admirable pathway for hope for our people. And I am optimistic that our trip to Austria shall add a sparkling new chapter to this evolving narrative of hope. 

The Promise of Anambra
Anambra State is the best place to locate an industry in Nigeria today. The state has a clear logistical advantage because it has a crop of experienced suppliers and middlemen who can facilitate the movement of goods across Africa. That is why Logistics is the sixth Pillar of our Economic Blueprint. We have the largest retail market in West Africa and the best network of roads in Nigeria. Anambra has a high literacy rate, a growing MSMEs sector and a stable political environment guaranteed by the sustainable vision of the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA), the ruling political party in the state which has a strong succession tradition. We offer other incentives like easy access to industrial land from our land-bank, tax relief, waivers and a speedy company registration and issuance of a Certificate of Occupancy in record time. We also rank as the most transparent and accountable state in Nigeria for having complied with International Public Sector Accounting System accounting standards. 

What can Anambra Offer?
Anambra State is in a hurry to turn the inherent promise of its human and material capital into a measurable lived experience. We want to quickly move from being seen as a state with immense potentials to an oasis of prosperity in Nigeria. It is for this reason that we are looking for new partners and new capacities that will help us exploit our natural endowments to meet our expectations. We have over 40 trillion standard cubic feet of gas that has not been touched yet. We need partners that will exploit these rich reserves of gas to our mutual benefits. We need partners for the establishment of modular refineries. We also need partners in the power generation, agriculture, agro-allied industries and in the establishment of Industrial Parks. 

Similarly, with our immense endowments in tourism, we are looking for partners that will help us develop the Ogbunike Cave and Ogbaukwu Caves and Waterfalls into attractive leisure places. Other areas of need include the construction of an Inter-city Light Rail that will link up our major cities of Onitsha, Awka and Nnewi.

Finally, our three cities of Onitsha, Nnewi and Awka generate a great deal of waste on a daily basis. It is a well-known fact that Austria has advanced competencies that we need to turn the waste we generate in Anambra State to wealth. I also understand that Austria is noted for the manufacture of industrial and agricultural machineries. We are looking for partners in this regard as well. 

Success Stories
We have recorded quite many success stories in our drive for investments into Anambra State but I will mention only three here because of time. We have some interesting case studies especially in the agricultural sector where some indigenous industrialists like Coscharis Farms has invested $200m in a large mechanized rice farm located in Anaku. We also have JOSAN Agro Limited which has invested $180m in an Integrated Farm in Ufuma and Umumbo and finally, Lynden Farms Limited which invested $180m in a modern integrated poultry farm in Igbariam. Our rice production output currently stands at 345,000 metric tons. When my administration took over four years ago, Anambra was producing only 80,000 metric tons. Anambra is also doing well in the production of vegetables and has been exporting vegetables into the United Kingdom.

Ladies and gentlemen, we have put our house in order in Anambra State. We have laid the foundation for growth. We have attracted our own people to invest heavily in the state. But there is nothing as rewarding as a foreign direct investment. Our doors are open to Austria and the rest of Europe. Our doors are open to the world! Please come. Anambra is waiting for you!


Thank you

Willie Obiano
Governor Anambra State.

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