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Time To Invest In Nigeria (Posted Dec 2000) Tell your friends about this page! Email it to them. 

"My personal view is that, now is the time to begin to invest in Nigeria, perhaps cautiously, but at least taking those first opportunities for investment. I think the opportunities are opening up". These are the words of Steve Hayes, a director of the US based Corporate Council on Africa (CCA). Hayes who spoke against the background of president Bill Clinton’s recent visit to Nigeria added that "the visit will go a long way to solidifying closer ties with investors in both countries".

A leading advocate for closer US-Africa business ties, Hayes is one of the directors of CCA which was established in 1992 as a non-partisan organisation, designed to strengthen US-Africa commercial relations. The organisation is made up of 180 members brought together to educate constituencies about different social customs, cultural traditions and economic climates in Africa and through a network of business executives and government officials, to promote US-Nigeria relations.

Though the US point of view is that politics and regional stability are very vital to strengthening US-Nigeria relations, Hayes believe that Nigerians on the other hand, are of the opinion that Clinton’s visit should lay the groundwork for stronger US-Nigeria economic relations. He added that " the significance on the economy is more for the Nigerians, in fact that the Nigerians’ view Clinton’s visit more from an economic point of view ". Hayes also praised the Clinton administration's decision to include a strong business contingent on the trip, describing it as insightful". He noted that of the 75 business representatives included in the US delegation, 42 are from member firms of CCA.

The CCA Boss also noted that Nigeria’s president Olusegun Obasanjo is faced with a lot of problem right now, and that Clinton’s visit should help bolster his (Obasanjo's) credibility within Nigeria and add to people's hope that strong economic changes will occur. And in order to support these efforts, Hayes said "I think we need to be in there (Nigeria) now. I think the longer we wait, the more precarious the situation becomes for Obasanjo and change in Nigeria. I think that now is the time because there is greater interest". And as if heeding the CCA call, Anambra Motor Manufacturing Company Limited (ANAMMCO) has entered into partnership with two US based companies, Messrs. Freight liner Corporation and Thomas Built Buses, for the production of the new Mercedes- Benz ANAMMCO African Bus Concept.

Rudi Kornmayer, Managing Director of MB-ANAMMCO who disclosed this recently in Anambra state, South-East Nigeria, said the project is a "visible and viable Nigerian and American partnership", adding that the has committed over 15 million US$ towards the implementation of the project. Under the project, ANAMMCO would produce two bus models, the conventional and Transit liner in the first instance. while more is still expected from the partnership in terms of making ANAMMCO a centre for the production of trucks and buses for Nigeria and the entire West African sub-region.

But such success story in the area is fostering a better US- Nigeria business relations should not be taken out of context. It will be recalled that the CCA has taken part in advancing US-Nigeria business relations. In July, Hayes led a AAC-Sponsored trade mission to Nigeria that focused on the government's steps towards Privatisation in agriculture, telecommunication, transportation and energy.

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