Saudi Billionaire Prince Alwaleed To Invest In Nigeria

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Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Al Saud

Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Al Saud

Saudi billionaire and Chairman of Kingdom Holdings, HRH Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Bin AbdulAziz Alsaud has signified his interest to invest in Nigeria. The Prince made his intentions known yesterday when he paid a courtesy visit to Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan at the State House in Abuja.

Playing host to the Prince, President Jonathan thanked the globally renowned investor for his interest in the country and referred to Nigeria as the best destination for any serious businesses looking to invest in Africa. The encounter was detailed on Nigeria’s TV network news on Thursday night and President Jonathan’s office issued a statement Friday morning detailing the discussion.

“With a population of 167 million, a robust economy, extensive oil and gas reserves, a largely unexploited petroleum downstream sector, opportunities in such strategic sectors as agriculture, energy and mining, with a robust plan by government to transform the nation, Nigeria is the ideal place for serious investors,” Jonathan said.

The President urged the billionaire prince to invest substantially in the country and pointed out key opportunities in sectors such as tourism, infrastructure, real estate as well as telecommunications and infrastructure. The President also hinted that Nigeria was in line to become Africa’s largest economy.

On his own part, Prince Alwaleed expressed his optimism in the Nigerian economy. According to him, “any investor in Africa who does not come to Nigeria has not started and has a long way to go.”

Alwaleed’s African private equity firm, Kingdom Zephyr Africa Management Company, has investments in a few African countries in sectors as diverse as hotels, banking, cement production and energy, but is now looking to make serious inroads into Nigeria. “I want to activate a strong relationship with Nigeria, in whatever area we may find suitable, and funds are not a constraint,” he told the President.

But for all the glowing remarks the President made about Nigeria, he failed to make mention of the country’s current infrastructure deficits as well as its lingering security crisis. Nigeria has one of the most eclectic power situations in the world. Businesses have to rely heavily on fuel-guzzling generators to meet their electricity needs and this substantially increases the costs of doing business in the country. On the security side, the Nigerian government has yet to make any significant progress towards curbing the menace of suicide bombers who have pervaded the country in recent times.

Prince Alwaleed has shown an increasing commitment towards investing in Africa. Through his Kingdom Hotel Investments, the prince has constructed or acquired 5-star hotels in countries such as Ghana, Kenya, Zambia and Tanzania. Over the last few years, he has also made significant investments in telecommunications companies in Algeria and Senegal and financial institutions all across Africa through Kingdom Zephyr Africa Management Company.


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