For discerning investors there are rich pickings. Governments and private companies in the region are seeking to attract foreign investors who can bring expertise and know-how to projects or companies as well as financial support. However, investors must also navigate around certain political hurdles.
With a population of 140 million, Nigeria is among the region’s richest in natural resources. The Asaba International Airport development located in its Delta State aims to attract international investors to turn itself into an aviation business hub. It seeks to attract not only airlines, of which there are already quite a number, including Virgin Nigeria Airways, but also maintenance, refurbishment and overhaul businesses, warehousing and distribution companies and light manufacturing businesses. The government has put in place the necessary incentives – access to a well-educated pool of low-cost labour, land, tax and business incentives, along with the promise of funding from local banks.
Many African telecom operators are also looking for international partners, and governments across the continent are easing regulations to facilitate foreign investment.
Furthermore, the Nigerian Stock Exchange regards foreign investment as a key to success. Recently, the director-general of Nigeria’s Securities and Exchange Commission, Musa Al-Faki, said he would be seeking international investors when the Nigerian Stock Exchange undergoes demutualisation within two years.
If you are seeking new places in which to invest it could be worth investigating Africa. An increasing number of investors from the Gulf region already consider the continent to be the next big opportunity.
Lucia Dore is the Gulf correspondent at mergermarket, part of The Financial Times Group.