Obasanjo to the Russians: Doing business in Africa can be challenging but rewarding

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Former Nigerian leader, Olusegun Obasanjo, who attended the just concluded Russia-Africa summit in Sochi analyzed investment challenges and opportunities in Africa.

Olusegun Obasanjo at the Russia-Africa summit in Sochi in October 2019.
Olusegun Obasanjo at the Russia-Africa summit in Sochi in October 2019.

According to him, even though the multiplicity of countries, currencies, cultures and laws may constitute some challenges for investors, there are also many opportunities in Africa.

 “There are 55 counties in Africa. It is a problem for investors, because nobody wants to trade with Africa. These are 55 countries with 55 different legislatures, 55 different customs regulations. There are fewer than 55 currencies – I think a few countries have common currencies – but still there is over 30. That is hard to overcome. It is a problem,” said Obasanjo, who was head of state and president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria between 1976 and 1979, and between 1999 and 2007.

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There are 55 counties in Africa. It is a problem for investors, because nobody wants to trade with Africa. These are 55 countries with 55 different legislatures, 55 different customs regulations. There are fewer than 55 currencies – I think a few countries have common currencies – but still there is over 30. That is hard to overcome

“There is money waiting to be invested into Africa’s development, but that money is cowardly,” he said.

Его Превосходительство Олусегун Обасанджо|H.E. Olusegun Obasanjo

“It will come when the atmosphere is right. Yet, the moment the situation changes and there is no incentive to stay in the country, it is out. What can we do to motivate investments and trade development? What can we do so that the money arrives into a country and stays there? There has to be predictability, good return of investment, law must prevail because you need to be sure that should a conflict arise it will be resolved fairly“.

Olusegun Obasanjo at the Russia-Africa summit in Sochi in October 2019.
Olusegun Obasanjo at the Russia-Africa summit in Sochi in October 2019.

Obasanjo took part in a session looking into challenges and opportunities in doing business in Africa

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Simon Ateba
Simon Ateba
Simon Ateba covers the White House, the U.S. government, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other financial and international institutions for Today News Africa in Washington D.C. Simon can be reached on simonateba@todaynewsafrica.com

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