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Thursday, 04 July 2013 10:18

Jonathan’s scorecard: Deepening economic diplomacy and national planning

Written by Folasade Folarin

The recent UN World Report indicated that Nigeria recorded great improvement in Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in 2012.

The report put FDI flow into the country in 2012 at 8.9 billion U.S. dollars, compared with 6.1 billion U.S. dollars recorded in 2010.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr Olugbenga Ashiru, who spoke at the ongoing Ministerial Platform in Abuja, attributed the increase to the strengthening of economic diplomacy by President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration.

``The inflow of these investments had effect on the Transformation Agenda of President Goodluck Jonathan in supporting the economic programme of the government,’’ he said.

Ashiru stressed that China, U.S., Britain, Germany, South Africa and some other countries had formed strategic partnerships with Nigeria in investments in power, wholesale trade and manufacturing.

``For instance, the General Electric Company of U.S. is investing over 1 billion U.S. dollars in the construction of a factory in Calabar, to manufacture gas turbines for the power sector, not just for Nigeria, but also for Africa.

``The factory will employ over 2,500 skilled workers and an equal number of unskilled workers, with wealth creation in the added value chain.

``Also, Procter and Gamble has begun the construction of a factory in Agbara, Ogun, to manufacture health materials, with the potential of creating well over 1,000 skilled jobs and huge potential for wealth creation,’’ he added.

The minister also announced that China had granted a soft loan of 500 million U.S. dollars for the construction of a light rail system in and around Abuja, adding that the Asian country was also sponsoring the construction of a 50-bed hospital in Abuja.

Ashiru said that Mexico had also granted Nigeria 54 million U.S.-dollar-FDI to develop  plantations for the cultivation of pineapple and other crops for export to European Union (EU) markets.

On international visibility, the minister said that in the last two years, Nigeria was elected into many positions which she had hitherto been denied by the African Union (AU).

``We have worked hard to reverse this trend and within this period, we have successfully secured 16 international positions for Nigeria and Nigerians.

``Furthermore, Nigeria is also at present in the highest level of decision making organ of the AU, in charge of democracy, election and good governance of the continent,” he added.

Click here to read the rest of the article on the website of the News Agency of Nigeria.

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