By Reuben Onyishi
When on 1st September 2023 Mbah convened the Investment and Economic Growth Roundtable in Enugu that saw the convergence of foreign and local investors and development financiers like World Bank, African Development Bank (AFDB) African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), the United Kingdom Department for Business and Trade, and Infrastructure Credit Guarantee Company, it was a deliberate measure to set Enugu on the path of a private-sector driven economy towards the achievement of his objective to shore up the GDP of the state to 30 billion dollars. Mbah had during the Roundtable shared his vision for Enugu State and presented the state’s integrated sector-based productivity growth strategy, which fleshed out a clear path to achieving the &30 billion GDP growth target.
Mbah had these things worked out. He is a go-gotter with a knack for effective influence on decisions, that is, leadership. What has taken shape after the Roundtable is a fruitful crystallisation of investment deals in the state. As a matter of fact, the target was to close deals worth &2.1 billion in the integrated productive sector involving agriculture, mineral resources, energy, transportation, ICT, and the creative industry. Mbah effectively marketed the investment potentials in these areas with the prospect of high returns on investment to prospective investors.
Immediately after the Roundtable, the United Kingdom opened a visa processing centre in Enugu, and that has been running to date. Much confidence is restored in the state, especially with regard to the security milestone the Mbah administration achieved by stopping the Monday sit-at-home syndrome ravaging the South East with its toll on the economy of the region. The security risk mitigated enhanced the ease-of-doing-business strategy of the Mbah Administration towards wooing international and local investors to the state in line with its mission to make Enugu State the first choice of investment destination in Nigeria. The target is to make Enugu State one of the first three subnational big economies in Nigeria, in the order of Lagos.
The Indonesian government would leverage the exposed potentials of the state to do business with the state. It followed up with the working visit of its Nigerian ambassador, Dr Usra Harrahap, to Mbah at Government House, Enugu, and strengthened its drive with an invitation to Mbah to Jakarta in October where he delivered a keynote address during the Nigerian-Indonesian Investment Trade Forum themed “Rediscovering Business Potentials in Nigeria and Indonesia,” an event facilitated by the Nigerian-Indonasian Chamber of Commerce and Industry ( NICCI). This business relationship with Indonesia is paying off in the area of agriculture, energy, trade, and commerce. Many of these deals are done behind closed doors.
Yesterday, 3rd January, 2024, the President and Chairman of the Board of Directors of African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), Prof. Benedict Okechukwu Oramah, paid a working visit to Governor Mbah at the Lion Building, Government House, Enugu, and made a commitment to finance key projects of the Mbah Administration.This is an aftermath of the September Roundtable in which Afreximbank actively participated. According to Oramah, the bank’s interest in Enugu State stems from Governor Mbah’s vision, which aligns with the bank’s development interest. Part of these projects is the operationalization of the international wing of Akanu Ibiam International Airport Enugu, as well as the construction of the cargo wing of the airport. This is in line with the export vision of the Mbah Administration, especially as it concerns agroproduce.
These developments are a sure sign of the fact that Mbah is committed to his objective of a private-sector driven economy that would help grow the state’s GDP and the ultimate end of poverty eradication to zero per cent headcount index. It is a reassurance to Ndi Enugu that Governor Mbah is committed to the social charter he presented to them at the Law Faculty Auditorium of Godfrey Okoye University, Enugu where he unveiled his manifesto on 13th October, 2022, which he dubbed ” Building a Peaceful and Secure, Highly Developed and Prosperous State for all.” From what Mbah has done within seven months, everyone can attest to the fact that the manifesto is being implemented. NDI Enugu are in for a peaceful and secure, highly developed, and prosperous Enugu State. Thanks to Governor Mbah, whose vision has brightened the path to economic prosperity of Enugu State.