By Musa Ilallah
But for the frightening security challenges laden with political undertones that is threatening lives and properties across the country, President Muhammadu Buhari would have been rated as the happiest leader in the world today.
Basically, two major reasons are responsible for my whole hearted conclusion.
One, the country got a big boost in its foreign direct investment, FDI recently when Microsoft Corporation promised to create an African Development Centre in Nigeria worth $200 million.
Secondly, the USA government is building a new $537 million consulate on reclaimed land in Lagos, Nigeria. Its its biggest Consulate in the world.
President Muhammadu Buhari had in Abuja said “Nigeria stands poised to welcome more initiatives and investments in digital technology, while appreciating Microsoft for siting its engineering hub in Nigeria”
Receiving the President of Microsoft Corporation, Brad Smith, who was accompanied by Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Professor Isa Ali Pantami, the President said: “I have been informed that the African Development Centre in Nigeria is Microsoft’s first engineering hub in Africa”
Most significant is the fact that Microsoft’s skilling initiative will train five million citizens and provide 27,000 jobs over the next three years.
While commending the company for the initiatives, President Buhari told the visiting Microsoft team that as the largest economy and most populous country in Africa, “Nigeria was positioned to play a strategic role in the global technology ecosystem and seek the right partnerships to harness the potentials.”
It is on record that Nigeria had shown great commitment in providing conducive environment for investors and the massive jump in the Global Ease of Doing Business Ranking was proof that the efforts were yielding positive results.
This is further confirmed by Nigeria’s emphasis on the development of its Digital Economy which has positioned it as a fastest growing sector of its economy in 2020.
The country’s Information and Communications Technology sector played a very important role in supporting the country’s early exit of the recession triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Like President Buhari noted, Nigeria is keen to build on the momentum as it continues to implement the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy, along with other related policies.
It is therefore not doubtful that apart from partnership in the area of skills building Nigeria looks forward to further partnerships that will support its digital infrastructure and innovation ecosystem, with regard to emerging technologies.
Emerging technologies play a key role in digital transformation in the Fourth Industrial Revolution and that a number of indigenous companies in the country have developed very useful solutions.
Professor Pantami had disclosed that 320,000 Nigerians have also been trained on digital skills by the technology company, Microsoft. Also, Microsoft will step up its empowerment of Nigerians by training five million more persons in the future.
A second boost to Nigeria’s economy is the building of a new $537 million consulate of the USA on reclaimed land in Lagos, Nigeria.
To be located at Eko Atlantic, the four square miles of land reclaimed from the Atlantic Ocean will also feature residential and commercial properties.
Designed by Ennead, a New York architecture firm, the consulate is expected to take up 50,000 square meters of space and employ 2,500 Nigerian citizens in various roles from engineering, construction and administration.
The US said about $95 million will be invested in the local economy as a result of the project, set for completion in 2027.
Though the UUS already has a consulate office in Lagos, in addition to its embassy in Abuja, it decided to build another “consulate campus” to honour the vibrant relationship between the United States and Nigeria and communicates the spirit of American democracy, transparency and openness.
Expected to be the largest US consulate in the world and gives the Eko Atlantic project, which started in 2008 and intended as an international financial center, an endorsement from a major government.
Indeed there is no gainsaying in the fact that the two projects are watershed in the PMB admistration’s efforts in attracting FDI into the country.
Further more, it is a confirmation of the confidence the USA government and Microsoft repose in the PMB administration in pursuing a multi faceted, transparent economic development agenda for the country.
EMEKA ANYAOKU STREET, ABUJA