Nigeria’s Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo has said to achieve the high rate growth needed to ensure good-paying jobs and better opportunities for Nigerians, and meet the goal of taking 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in 10 years; the country must consciously build an attractive investment regime.
According to Osinbajo, the reform and updating of international investment agreements remain central to the country’s efforts, as they provide the basis for the promotion and protection of foreign investments.
Speaking at the High-Level Preparatory Launch Event for the 14th Annual Forum of Developing Country Investment Negotiators held virtually, the Vice President noted that investment strategies must take the rapidly changing global environment into account, and promote the right type and quality of investment to tackle the challenges and attain the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The event comes ahead of the 14th Annual Forum of Developing Country Investment Negotiators, to be held 2022 in Abuja, and was positioned to help prepare stakeholders to better represent their countries or regional grouping.
Osinbajo maintained that the platform for negotiation is especially important for developing countries where investment agreements have sometimes not been carefully negotiated; making some countries pay a heavy price.
“Investment has always been integral and vital to and for sustainable development. To what may define investments now is that we are in a rapidly changing global environment, especially with the COVID-19 pandemic still raging, as we also struggle to adapt to climate change and grapple with the transition to the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
“To these ends, we’ve been progressively improving the business environment by enhancing business entry, making it easier to register businesses, reducing the cost of doing business and ensuring that the profit expectations of investors can be met.
“Nigeria is similarly committed to a rich based and predictable investment climate that is made up of transparent, non-discriminatory and business-friendly regulations supported by independent and a reliable judicial system. We are confident that these reforms will enhance the country’s business climate to attract, retain and expand responsible, inclusive, balanced and sustainable investments.
“As an emerging economy that is both capital importing and capital-exporting Nigeria is excited to host the 14th annual forum as a testament to its commitment to the ongoing global, regional, bilateral and national processes, aimed at ensuring that the economic benefits of investments policymaking are realised by both investors and host states alike,” Osinbjo said.
In her remarks, Executive Director, International Institute on Sustainable Development (IISD) Europe; and Senior Director, Economic Law & Policy, Nathalie Bernasconi-Osterwalder, said for two decades, the investment treaty regime and investor-state arbitration have developed in parallel with and sometimes in contradictions to national and regional policies and frameworks, stressing the importance of reintroducing coherence with international instruments and domestic frameworks.
She said, “In Abuja, we will examine the complex issues of coherence between investment treaties and investor-state contracts under one hand, and the national as well as regional foreign direct investment policies and laws in the other.
“It is my firm belief that with your help the 14th annual Forum in 2022 will lead to concrete outcomes and help us move into an international regime that ensures that investments contribute to national and global sustainable development objectives that allow our communities to thrive.”
Speaking on the type of investments Nigeria seeks to attract, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Niyi Adebayo said the country is looking forward to attracting “good national and local investments that are responsible and inclusive, balanced and sustainable.”
“We are interested in seeing to it that we have investments that are inclusive, such that they can help with our two major problems, which is the lack of jobs for our teeming youths, and we also require investments that are sustainable. So, as much as we want those that are investing in Nigeria to benefit from the investment they are making in Nigeria, we also want Nigeria to benefit from them.”
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