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Why UAE, others are interested in Nigerian market – Mairo Usman

From being a delegate in 2014, Mairo MT Usman is the representative of the Annual Investment Meeting (AIM) of United Arab Emirates (UAE) in Nigeria.  President Muhammadu Buhari was a guest of honour at this year’s edition of AIM held in Dubai. In this interview, she speaks on the benefits of the president’s visit, Nigeria’s relationship with the United Arab Emirates (UAE), among others. Excerpts:

 Daily Trust: What’s the Annual Investment Meeting (AIM) of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) all about? Mairo Usman: Annual Investment Meeting UAE is the world’s leading platform for foreign direct investment (FDI) and this is the 9th edition. Over 100 countries attend every year and it’s an opportunity to meet across the globe, as alliances and business connections are made.

DT: How have you been facilitating Nigeria’s participation in the AIM? Usman: I first went to the Annual Investment Meeting (AIM) in Dubai as a delegate myself in 2014 and consequently, I was asked by the Director General, Mr. Walid Farghal, to become their representative in Nigeria. The event is under the Ministry of Economy of Dubai and the patron is the ruler of Dubai, His Highness Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

All state governors are invited every year, parastatals, public and private sectors. I have been taking participants from Nigeria for the last five years and the attendance has been growing every year.

DT: AIM draws participants from across the world, can we replicate same in our country in line with PMB’s quest to diversify our economy? Usman: Diversification is key to the growth of our economy and I drew the attention of AIM to our mining sector. I therefore convinced them to invite our former Minister of Solid Minerals, Hon Abubakar Bawa Bwari, to attend because they only invite Minister of Trade and Investment.  Our minister was on the panel of ‘Invest in Africa’, so, I believe I have partly answered your question on how we can replicate UAE by diversifying. Tourism of course is a sector that needs serious investment and development and next year, I will definitely push to have our tourism potential showcased at the event.

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DT: President Buhari was a guest of honour at the 9th edition. What has Nigeria benefited from it? Usman: President Buhari’s visit has further solidified the resolve of the UAE investors to come to Nigeria. Having the president give them his personal assurance, in terms of ease of doing business in Nigeria, has made them want to join hands with Nigeria to bring succour to our ailing power sector.

This will surely give them the kind of returns they are looking for and they are willing to invest in sectors like water projects, agriculture, education and healthcare. Security, population growth, climate change, which is leading to a lot of conflicts, especially the herdsmen/farmers clash, and border control are other sectors that have been discussed extensively for mutual collaboration.

DT: How are Nigerians faring in the UAE? Usman: Nigerians in the UAE are doing very well in terms of trading and in the food industry.  Our intellectuals are being absorbed in the tertiary education sector. Nigerians always excel wherever they go

DT: What’s your final note? Usman: Dubai did it and so can we, but the essential thing we need is a stable and focused leadership. We cannot continue to depend on fluctuating oil prices coupled with other sources of energy that now leads to less earnings from oil.

Source: Daily Trust

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