Dr Peter Ndubuisi Mbah in a group photograph with Nollywood practitioners who paid him a courtesy call recently. The Governor has been engaging various stakeholders in his avowed determination to turn the state around economically/Photo: Government of Enugu State

Nigeria: Enugu launches programme to attract diaspora investment

The Governor of Enugu State, Dr Peter Ndubuisi Mbah, is looking to the diaspora for investment in his self-professed determination to transform the economy of the southeastern state.

Mbah, who assumed office on 29 May, launched the Enugu State Diaspora and Investment Forum (ES-DIF) recently, with the objective to attract increased investment from the state’s indigenes in the diaspora.

Enugu will host an Investment and Economic Growth Stakeholder Roundtable in September 2023, which is the precursor to the launch of the first edition of the ES-DIF scheduled for April 2024.

Dr Peter Ndubuisi Mbah speaking at the press briefing on 26 June, when he launched the Enugu State Diaspora and Investment Forum/Photo: Government of Enugu State

“The Enugu State Diaspora and Investment Forum will be a multi-stakeholder, fully transactional platform championed by the Enugu State Government to accelerate the identification, preparation, curation, and financial closure of investment projects to achieve the State’s Private Sector-Led Economic Transformation Agenda,” the governor said at a press briefing on 26 June in Enugu. “In its first year, the Enugu State Diaspora and Investment Forum aims to attract at least US$2.0 billion in investment interests,” he added.

Mbah said he had established the Diaspora and Investment Unit, which will be tasked with “the responsibility of working with relevant government agencies, project sponsors, domestic and international financial institutions, private investors including the diaspora investing community, and development partners”.

The major work of the unit, which is located in the Office of the Governor, is “to crowd in capital for critical development programmes and projects in priority sectors that can improve Enugu State’s global competitiveness and drive suitable development outcomes”.

The diaspora, going by the size of the remittances it sends to Africa annually, is a potential gamechanger in the continent’s efforts for economic development. Experts have long been calling on policymakers to fashion attractive frameworks for increased investment of the African diaspora in their countries of origin.

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Below is the full text of Governor Mbah’s press briefing:

TEXT OF A PRESS CONFERENCE BY THE GOVERNOR OF ENUGU STATE, HIS EXCELLENCY, DR PETER NDUBUISI MBAH, AT THE EXECUTIVE CHAMBER, GOVERNOR’S OFFICE, ENUGU, ON MONDAY, JUNE 26, 2023

Gentlemen of the Press,

Launch of the Enugu State Diaspora and Investment Forum (ES-DIF):

I am pleased to announce today, that my government will host an Investment and Economic Growth Stakeholder Roundtable in September 2023, which is the precursor to the launch of the first edition of the Enugu State Diaspora and Investment Forum (ES-DIF) scheduled for April 2024. The Enugu State Diaspora and Investment Forum will be a multi-stakeholder, fully transactional platform championed by the Enugu State Government to accelerate the identification, preparation, curation, and financial closure of investment projects to achieve the State’s Private Sector-Led Economic Transformation Agenda. In its first year, the Enugu State Diaspora and Investment Forum aims to attract at least US$2.0 billion in investment interests.

In September 2023, the Investment and Economic Growth Stakeholder Roundtable will bring together bilateral and multilateral development partners, as well as senior-level executives from commercial banks, public and corporate pension funds, sovereign wealth funds, private equity funds, infrastructure funds, and other domestic financial institutions for a systematic discussion on advancing viable investment opportunities in the state as my administration steers Enugu State on a path of private sector-led economic growth.

The Enugu State Diaspora and Investment Forum (ES-DIF) and the series of preliminary business and investment roundtables will be implemented by a Diaspora and Investment Unit established within my office, which will be tasked with the responsibility of working with relevant government agencies, project sponsors, domestic and international financial institutions, private investors including the diaspora investing community, and development partners to crowd in capital for critical development programmes and projects in priority sectors that can improve Enugu State’s global competitiveness and drive suitable development outcomes.

The Enugu State Diaspora and Investment Forum will have five key functions:

1. To identify and curate projects to bankability.

2. To work with relevant government agencies to facilitate policy reforms, technical assistance support and innovative partnerships.

3. To mobilize capital for bankable projects, including net-zero aligned projects that can unlock the economic potential of Enugu State and South-Eastern Nigeria.

4. To implement an annual investment marketplace with special boardrooms for government agencies, potential investors, and project sponsors to match and mutually de-risk projects.

5. To accelerate the financial closure of investment deals brought to the ES-DIF platform by public and private investors.

The Enugu State Diaspora and Investment Forum will include six (6) interdependent activity areas:

1. An Enugu State Diaspora and Investment (ESDI) Platform – for investment deal origination and structuring, due diligence, and deal advisory services. The digital platform will host a live database of deal pipelines at different stages of preparation.

2. An ESDI Market Place – designed to engage project sponsors, the government, financial institutions and development partners in roundtables and physical/virtual board rooms for project consideration and dealmaking.

3. ESDI Forum Investors’ Day – for investment matchmaking and accelerating deals to financial close.

This includes public sessions, closed boardrooms, business-to-business meetings, entrepreneurship incubation events for start-ups, deal or no-deal type pitching sessions, and a deal gallery open to potential Investors.

4. A Deal Tracker – to regularly review and provide updates on boardroom outcomes and hold periodic update meetings with project sponsors, engage investors and enhance portfolio management and reporting.

5. Policy Environment Reforms – to consistently monitor investment opportunities and risks, and implement policy reforms needed to enhance project bankability, build knowledge partnerships with development partners and the private sector, and develop knowledge products to inform investments in the State.

6. A Diaspora Engagement Program – aimed at engaging Diasporans to increase their participation and contributions to the state’s transformation agenda, including (i) Ndi-Enugu who live outside the State’s borders but in Nigeria (ii) Nigerians and other Africans who live abroad and (iii) people of African descent around the world. Building on the work of the African Development Bank Group and Partners, the Diaspora and Investment Unit will work with diasporans on securitization of their remittances, diaspora bonds, trade and investment promotion, and knowledge sharing.

 ENUGU STATE IS OPEN FOR BUSINESS and welcomes all project sponsors, domestic and international financial institutions, and development partners. I invite the diaspora community to invest in Enugu State to deliver transformative development outcomes for our people.

 Implementation Roadmap:

This announcement will kick off the work of the Enugu State Diaspora and Investment Unit, which will work with you to identify, prepare, and curate projects for the inaugural Enugu State Diaspora and Investment Forum (ES-DIF). The state government will host a series of business and investment roundtables in preparation for the Forum, including:

1.     Investment Roadshows from August 2023 to meet potential investors and project sponsors.

2.     A Stakeholder Roundtable in September 2023 to inform key stakeholders about upcoming investors’ days.

3.     A Diaspora Forum in December 2023, which will bring together the diaspora investing community.

4.    Closed Boardrooms in March 2023 to close deals and mobilise institutional partners with investment interests in curated projects.

 Thank you all.

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