South African business people have been urged to invest in Nigeria’s Free Trade Zone.
This as a delegation of businesspeople led by the Department of Trade and Industry (dti) visited the Lekki Free Trade Zone, a privately-owned free trade zone, outside Lagos as part of site visits.
The delegation was on an Outward Trade and Investment Mission (OSIM) that aims to increase trade and investment between South Africa and the West African country.
South Africa’s Foreign Economic Representative (FER) in Nigeria, Calvin Phume, said it is important to expose the South African business delegation to the Free Trade Zone in order to showcase the vast opportunities available across the Nigerian economic sectors.
He told the delegation that arrived in Nigeria on Thursday that opportunities are abound in Nigeria.
“South Africa has taken a conscious decision to partner with Nigeria during their development phases and that Nigeria, like most countries in Africa, presents a wealth of business opportunities for South African companies,” said Phume.
He added that the visit was an opportunity to continue pursuing economic collaboration and partnerships with Nigeria.
Speaking during Friday’s site visit, General Marketing Manager of Lekki Free Trade Zone Oyewole Adegoke said there are efforts to market Nigeria by focusing on key economic sectors as identified by government.
“Our aim is to market Nigeria’s economic potential to investors across the world, as a private organisation working closely with the Nigeria Export Processing Zone Authority (NEPZA) and its stakeholders,” said Adegoke.
He added that it would be of benefit for South Africa and Nigeria to have South African companies operating from the free trade zone as preferential policies and incentives granted to investors are aimed at easing doing business in Nigeria.
Meanwhile, General Manager of Dermacell Cosmetics and Healthcare Junior Mokgapi said the free trade zone would allow his business to penetrate the Nigeria market. The South African company manufacturers and suppliers of skincare products.
“Nigeria is one of the biggest economies in Africa. If one can crack it into the Nigerian market and conduct business, then the rest of Africa has no boundaries,” said Mokgapi.
Founder of Valotech 228, a supplier of rail signalling design and construction, installation and rail maintenance solutions, Dorothy Mofomme, said her company is keen on cracking the Nigerian market.
“We noticed that there is a need for rail infrastructure development, especially with all the critical infrastructure projects and activities going on here. Setting up shop in the free trade zone would be advantageous as all rail, roads and ports are in close proximity,” she said.
The two nation OSIM that started in Ghana on 18 March and then moved to Nigeria forms part of the dti’s objective to identify and create export markets for South African value-added products and services.
The total value of trade between South Africa and Ghana for 2017 amounted to R5.5 billion, while with Nigeria for the same year it amounted to R28.5 billion. –