Embrace China’s investment model in Africa, NIMASA begs Europe
From left: Executive Director, Operations of NIMASA Engr. Rotimi Fashakin, Chairman Senate Committee on Marine Transport, Senator Ahmed Sanni, The Manager, SMM Hamburg ,Mr. Claus- Ulrich Selbach, DG NIMASA, Dr. Dakuku Peterside and Chairman House Committee on Maritime Safety, Education and Administration Umar Bago at the SMM conference which held in Germany recently.
BY FRANCIS EZEM
The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, has urged investors from Europe and other parts of the western world to adopt the investment model of China in Africa, which the agency believes has over the years demonstrated better understanding of the continent’s market.
Director General of the Agency, Dr. Dakuku Peterside also charged the global investment to tap into the opportunities that abound in the African maritime industry, especially Nigeria, stating that the continent remains one of the largest in terms of cargo contributions to global maritime trade.
Peterside, who spoke at the Nigerian Business Summit at the sidelines of the recently concluded Shipbuilding, Machinery Technology SMM Conference which held in Hamburg Germany, however insists that any investments from outside the continent must be mutually beneficial to both parties noting that Africa will not want to be shortchanged.
The SMM, Hamburg is a maritime trade fair organised biannually in Germany to discuss germane issues of maritime trade by key players in the industry worldwide. This year’s summit brought to the fore the impact of emissions from ships, requesting every maritime nation to seek avenues of emission reduction.
The DG, who doubles as Chairman of Association of African Maritime Administrations AAMA, advised foreigners, who are willing to participate in the biggest maritime industry to propose symbiotic terms that would engender sincere trade amongst participants, adding that the continent seems to be leaning towards the Chinese model because they offer better understanding of the African market.
He therefore urged other investors, especially Europeans to come to the party with genuine interest and opportunities of financing for the sector which the industry is in dire need of.
“China appears to be offering Africa favorable terms of engagement in terms of cost of financing project, in terms of the duration for the payment of facilities and in terms of ease of transfer of technology, Europe may offer better technology, Europe may even offer better managerial capability, but what of the issue of financing, it is up to Europe to realise that the market of the future is in Africa and offer mutually beneficial terms not the terms that benefit Europe alone to the detriment of Africa. So if you offer us favourable terms of engagement then Africa is open for business, Nigeria is open for business”, Peterside said emphatically.
He insists that Africa generates and receives a lot of cargo, a development that makes the continent a market hub of the present and future, which most foreign investors are jostling to take advantage of.
On the home front, the DG noted that Nigeria’s maritime industry is specifically open to investments pointing out that the Federal Government of Nigeria under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari has put policies in place that would be beneficial to interested investors.
“It is known worldwide that Africa is the world’s biggest untapped market waiting to be unveiled and if you want to tap into the market of today and the market of the future then Nigeria is your destination, Nigeria is welcoming you and Nigeria is the investment destination of today and the future”, he said.
Also speaking at the event, the Nigerian Ambassador to Germany Mr. Yusuf Tuggar, said that the SMM Hamburg offers a platform for maritime investors across the globe to cross fertilise ideas. He noted that Nigeria particularly is ready for investment adding that the President Mohamed Buhari led administration has remained resolute and determined in providing enabling environment and repositioning of the maritime industry to optimally compete with its counterparts around the world especially with the introduction of policies and programmes that have remarkable impacts on the sector thereby making it more attractive for foreign investments.