Yerima Ngama, for caleaeuropeana.ro: There are still efforts to be made in democratizing World Bank and IMF
Nigeria’s Minister of State for Finance, Yerima Ngama offered an exclusive interview to caleaeuropeana.ro in which he talk about the global economic situation, the main investment opportunities in Nigeria and the country’s relation with Romania.
Calea Europeana: Which are the main issues that you have discussed with the officials present here, at the VI Astana Forum?
Yerima Ngama: Well, this a Forum that gathers the politicians, professionals, and administrators to discuss the various crises that world economy is going through. The world economy has been facing several crises since the World War II and it seems to be acting in circles since then. At the bottom of this are the types of financial transactions and the various trading arrangements between countries that should increase stability in the economy and prosperity. Various crises led to different types of efforts in order to deal with the situation in a permanent way. But of course there are different challenges. The present crisis has actually led to the information of richer countries coming into the area, or influencing international financial governments. A lot of known government structures have been challenged in order to allow economists to have an impact in the way our international financial relationships are being dealt with. Even today, in the opening session, a lot of suggestions have been given. One was about bringing some kind of democratization of the financial governors, globally, like World Bank and IMF. I think some efforts have been done but more needs to be done. Stability is the main issue that has been discussed at this forum and we have all the people that are needed for this discussion and I believe that at the end of the forum we are going to have to answers telling us how to move forward. At the end of the day, it would be great to have all the G20 states, and even some countries like Nigeria, who also need to play a greater role, and involving in bringing stability in world economy.
Calea Europeana: Mr Romano Prodi, former President of the European Commission was saying that all countries are having growth and are recovering after the crisis, including Africa, all of them except Europe. So what can Nigeria do to help Europe? What are the main opportunities that Nigeria, for example offers to European investors or other global actors?
Yerima Ngama: The biggest opportunity Nigeria offers is the size of the market. Nigeria has a population of 160 million people and in today’s world, where markets are shrinking, you must go into a market where you can know that you can sustain your productivity. Nigeria has intelligent people and the wages are a bit cheaper than in Europe. Therefore, for those who want a low cost of productivity, Nigeria is the place to go because it has competent people who are not going to cost you much. Another opportunity is the opening to the African market, that would add 150 million people to the Nigerian people, making the market around 210 million. If you look at the resources you need in order to produce, like agricultural resources, Nigeria also has good agricultural climate and has vast arable land, most of the food is untouched. Most of the countries who want to do business in Nigeria can do it, because it provides the best destination agricultural activity, it has good soil minerals. You can use that to produce IT products, because nowadays we have a lot of resources that can be used in this IT world innovation and creating products that are yet to be known.
Calea Europeana: There are diversified opportunities that you presented. The Romanians businessmen are also interested in investing in Africa, like Ovidiu Tender or Frank Timiş, what do you think about their initiative?
Yerima Ngama: Romanian investors are doing very well in Nigeria, we share some cultural resemblance when you look at it, Romanians have very strong family values and respect, so that is why they find Nigeria as a a second home. Some of them who went to Nigeria don’t want to come back. It is a very beautiful country, very diverse, you feel like home and you have many interesting things to do, people are very friendly. Romania invested in Nigeria and in Africa because they also wanted to do good things, not only to make profit, but to make other people happier. This kind of norms and relationships makes us good partners.
Interview realized by Dan Carbunaru