How Edo State Courts Foreign Relations to Score Growth
When Godwin Obaseki was elected as the executive Governor in Edo State, the mandate before him was clearly spelt out: To adhere to the principle of good governance, lead his people to prosperity and ensure the poverty level is reduced.
Now, Edo has become one of the states in Nigeria where growth momentum is not only strong but sustainable due to an unending economic fine-tuning and resetting. To stay on course, the only means that Obaseki thinks could help him deliver this mandate is to create jobs for the people across the state.
However, he understands driving growth with local capacity could limit upside potential, and Edo has founded a laudable alternative – riding on the wings of local and foreign private capital. As a pro-market strategist, the first thing that came to Obaseki’s mind was a special purpose investment vehicle, designed to attract, support and build Edo state economy.
This complex impact targeting economic assignment was packaged in a simple-structure investment promotion office, and Edo State began a journey into a healthier private sector-driven jobs creation and thriving investment environment.
The events of the past years have shown that Edo state has no intention to leave the growth agenda to local private sector capacity as the government continuously seeks a ‘third economic force’ from foreign investors to drive momentum.
Creating and nurturing bilateral relationships tops Edo’s growth option. A move that experts think would help Nigeria as a country in positioning its resource capability and drive inclusive growth.
Thorn between the covid-19 pandemic and the supremacy war between Russia and Ukraine, global economic performance has been drawn back to its lowest post-pandemic and there is a bleak outlook for growth, according to World Bank projections.
The problem, however, creates opportunities and Edo has sighted this, and the state is moving to take positions. Looking back, Edo has scored record growth with job creations resulting from her bilateral relations and arrangements targeted at flexible capital.
The strategy, which if well adopted at the Federal Level, could be a game-changer for Nigeria as a whole, experts told MarketForces Africa. Since Obaseki administration, Edo has continued to explore vertical and horizon economic relationships to ensure private sector investments are spread across – thus, making job creation much easier.
In his latest trip, Gov. Obaseki has heralded a deep relationship with foreign investors in Germany, the U.K and the United States to mention a few, pledging stronger cooperation on trade and investment in various bilateral visits.
Via these unending strategic engagements with the market actors, Obaseki continues to drive private capital to increase investment footprint across the various sectors in Edo.
Revitalising trade and investment relationships have been a priority for the present administration, as Obaseki stressed the need for an alliance between Edo and other countries for investing, collaboration and sustainable growth.
Edo Gov. Obaseki maintains emphasises the need for the state and other nations where he pitches opportunities to strengthen their bilateral commitments amid current global challenges.
Building bilateral relationships with foreign interests across the continent is core for the transit state with untapped resources and this is projected to drive economic growth. READ: Bureau of Statistics says 40.1% of Nigerians are poor
The state investment promotion office also keeps at the table to ensure its meet mandate to support the government in achieving growth by signing deals targeted at impacting jobs creation and the welfare of the people.
The investment office, led by its Chief Executive Kelvin Uwaibi has delivered eyes popping deals, collaboration and relationships with market actors in various degrees and sizes across the private sector.
For Edo, it is no government duty to be in business. And, Edo government works tirelessly to create an enabling business environment and help startups to survive with programmes.
Our review shows that Gov. Obaseki’s key strategy to achieve the desired economic objective of his administration has been clear-cut. Job creation through strategic alliances with market actors has been Edo’s playbook since the beginning of the present administration.
Would the state government pull a plug on the drive to grow the local economy? It is unlikely, according to Uwaibi who told MarketForces Africa that Gov. Obaseki does not really appreciate talking about what the state would do but rather what has been done.
“For His Excellency, it is about results, not what the government can or plan to do – People are tired of promises, they want to see the result”, Uwaibi told MarketForces Africa in a chat.
Edo state has continued to drop ‘bombs’ on poverty among the people living in the state. At the core of the government, strategy is relationship building with local and foreign investors.
Unrelenting, Gov. Obaseki has continued to create enabling environment in Edo state to support private investment to thrive. In a recent effort, the governor was in Germany to pitch investing opportunities to government and private investors.
Since 2016, the Obaseki-led administration’s key focal point is to grow Edo to become a cosmopolitan city that is economically capable and infrastructurally strong to compete in the South-South and beyond.
The global economic growth prospect has been relatively affected by the Russian and Ukrainian war. Though undesirable, the ongoing creates some economic leverage for African countries amidst multiple sanctions.
Also, trade tariffs slammed on some products from China by ex-President Donald Trump have worsened the inflation rate in the United States. Other countries in the European Union league are batting with wheat and gas shortages – all of which are available in Africa.
Russian and Ukrainian war has shown Africa, especially, Nigeria, the benefits of strong, and healthy bilateral trade and investment arrangements in the areas where the country has comparative advantages. # How Edo State is Courting Foreign Relations to Score Growth