The Enugu government says it aims to organize a diaspora investment forum, which will generate $2 billion in investor interest in the first year.
Peter Mbah, the state governor, tagged the event during a press conference on Monday at the Government House in Enugu. The ‘Enugu State Diaspora and Investment Forum’ is slated for April 2024.
The governor said the forum would be heralded by a couple of events, including the ‘Investment and Economic Growth Stakeholder Roundtable’ slated for September 2023, to inform key stakeholders about upcoming investors’ days; the ‘Diaspora Forum’ in December 2023, to bring together the diaspora investing community; and ‘Closed Boardrooms’ in March 2024 to “close deals and mobilise institutional partners with investment interests in curated projects”.
Mbah stressed that Enugu was open for business, welcoming all project sponsors, domestic and international financial institutions, and development partners, even as he urged the diaspora community to invest in the state to deliver transformative development outcomes for their people.
“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,” Mbah said.
“In its first year, the Enugu State Diaspora and Investment Forum aims to attract at least US$2 billion in investment interests.”
Providing details on the different events that will be held alongside the forum, he said 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.
He said other participants expected will emanate from the 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,” the governor said.
“[It] 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, among others, identify and curate projects to bankability; work with relevant government agencies to facilitate policy reforms, technical assistance support and innovative partnerships; mobilise capital for bankable projects, including net-zero aligned projects that can unlock the economic potential of Enugu State and South-Eastern Nigeria”
Mbah said the event would also implement an annual investment marketplace with special boardrooms for government agencies, potential investors, and project sponsors “to match and mutually de-risk projects; and accelerate the financial closure of investment deals brought to the ES-DIF platform by public and private investors”.
According to the governor, the ‘Enugu State Diaspora and Investment Forum’ will comprise six interdependent activity areas, namely: Enugu state diaspora and investment (ESDI) platform, ESDI marketplace, ESDI forum investors’ day, a deal tracker, policy environment reforms, and a diaspora engagement programme.
The politician said his announcement of the planned forum at the press briefing, marked the takeoff of the work of the state’s diaspora and investment unit.
During his governorship campaign, Mbah had committed to raising Enugu’s gross domestic product (GDP) from $4.4 billion to $30 billion in eight years.