Africa Matters Ltd, an investment company set up by Baroness Lynda Chalker 25 years ago, will partner with the Sokoto State Government in furtherance of Governor Tambuwal's vision of making Sokoto a Medical Hub in Nigeria and the West African sub-region. This was disclosed when a high -level delegation of Africa Matters Ltd led by former British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Paul Arkwright paid a courtesy call on Governor Aminu Tambuwal at Shehu Shagari House, Asokoro, Abuja on Thursday, 7th April 2022.
Paul Arkwright told Governor Tambuwal that the team is in Nigeria to understand the security and political situation in order to give British investors accurate picture of the situation in Nigeria to enable them arrive at a quick decision on investing in Nigeria. He disclosed that some investors are interested in investing in Nigeria and Sokoto State in particular but needed information on the prevailing situation in the country.
The former British High Commissioner identified Power, Gas, Infrastructure, Healthcare (Primary Healthcare, Vaccinations, Drugs), Education (out of school children) as the key investment interests of Africa Matters. He praised Governor Tambuwal for addressing the problem of out of school children and reinventing the educational sector in Sokoto State.
In his response, Governor Tambuwal thanked Africa Matters Ltd for its interest in Nigeria and Sokoto State. He recalled his past interactions with Baroness Lynda Chalker and asked the visiting to extend his appreciation and warm regards to her. He said Paul Awkwright is an authority on Nigeria and stands in good stead to advice investors interested in Nigeria.
While agreeing that the security situation in Nigeria at the moment is a clear disincentive for foreign direct investment, he said that all hands must be on deck to address the situation and restore the confidence of investors in our business environment. He pledged his support to the Federal Government as it battles terrorists, insurgents, bandits, kidnappers and other criminal elements across the country. "We must put politics aside and focus on our collective survival," he said.
He however pointed out that there are a couple of things that we must get right for stability to be restored. His words: "We must have a free, fair and credible elections in 2023. This will help to restore stability. Our foreign friends have a responsibility to advice the Federal Government and political actors to play by the rules to deepen our democracy. Nigeria has the largest market for any product. We have a young and very innovative population. Notwithstanding our challenges, we must continue to forge mutually beneficial partnerships."
He disclosed that Sokoto State is investing heavily in healthcare development. "The world class Sokoto State University Teaching Hospital is nearing completion. Three Premier Hospitals are being built in Binji, Tambuwal and Sabon Birni Local Governments of the State. An ultra-modern Medical Diagnostic Centre was recently commissioned. It is a one - stop Diagnostic Centre. Every test can be carried out there. It attracts people from neighbouring states and Niger Republic. Qualified nurses and midwives have been massively recruited to ensure effective healthcare delivery in the state."
The main goal of the Sokoto State Government, he said, is to make Sokoto a Medical Hub. "Sokoto State has a conducive business environment. Sokoto Cement has been operating since 1965. BUA CEMENT has been expanding its operations in Sokoto. Dangote is constructing a Rice Mill in Kware, Sokoto State. A Morrocan firm, OCP AFRICA is setting up a Phosphate Blending Plant in Sokoto. The state was recently adjudged second in Nigeria in Ease of Doing Business. There are generous incentives on offer. Sokoto State is therefore the place to invest," Governor Tambuwal.
At the end of the meeting, Africa Matters Ltd and the Sokoto State Government agreed to forge a partnership in the area of healthcare and infrastructure development. A team from Africa Matters Ltd will take a tour of healthcare facilities under construction in Sokoto State to identify possible areas of intervention.