By Bamidele Famoofo
The Ogun State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun last week met with executives of at least nine UK-based companies in a bid to pull investments into the State.
Abiodun, who attended the UK-Africa Investment Summit 2020 in London, had promised to represent the interests of the people of the state both at the summit and on the sidelines.
The summit, facilitated by the UK Department of International Trade under the Investment Promotion Programme, is a platform that avails participating countries the opportunity to establish a new phase of partnerships on investments and mutually beneficial economic prosperity.
Abiodun last Tuesday had an assessment tour of the UK manufacturing and agro-processing headquarters of Alvan Blanch. Alvan Blanch specialises in the manufacturing and supply of machines used for the processing of agricultural produce and waste.
The governor, who said Alvan Blanch had indicated interest in investing in the state, was together with his team, received by the Managing Director of Alvan Blanch, Mr. Andrew Blanch. Governor Abiodun was in company with the commissioners of finance and of Commerce, Mr. Dapo Okubadejo, and Mrs. Kikelomo Longe; the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Commerce, Mrs Sola Arobieke; and Special Assistant at the Governor’s Office, Debo Adeleke.
On Wednesday, Abiodun was in five other companies to meet with their executives. The different companies have multiple specialisations in energy, infrastructure, agriculture and agro-processing, investment and asset management. Others include technology, financial advisory, capital raising, private equity.
At United Green, the governor was received by Rod Bassett, Director, Agriculture and Dairy and Amin Ajami, Director, Principal Investment. United Green is a multi-interest investment company in markets including agriculture and nutrition, real estate and technology. The meeting was an opportunity for both parties to discuss the possibility of siting a state-of-the-art commercial dairy farm in Ogun State.
Received by the Chief Investment Officer, Chris Isaac, and the CEO, Daniel Hulls, Abiodun was also at AgDevCo. AgDevCo is a co-funded company that invests in the transformation of agribusiness in Africa, ensuring food security by providing growth capital and support to high-potential partners. Seeing as Ogun State is a high-potential investee because of its ease of doing business status, location and arable land, Abiodun outlined the benefits of investing in the agribusiness of the state, which is currently being locally developed back home.
Lion Head’s Global Partner, Christopher Egerton, and its Directors, Olamide Edun and Fola Pedro received Governor Abiodun in a meeting with the investment bank which operates globally across high-potential markets in financial advisory, capital raising and other investment management activities.
The governor also met with Actis’ Senior Adviser, Simon Harford and Edu Okeke of Azura Power West Africa Ltd. Both companies are world-class power investments companies that have a long history of advisory and investment roles in Africa, especially Nigeria. The companies expressed their will to explore the numerous potentials of Ogun State, considering amongst other things the State’s proximity to Lagos, the nation’s commercial capital.
After having signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Adam Smith International in November of last year, Ogun State is set to see a new phase in urbanisation and public transportation, which would ensure job creation and reduction in poverty. Mr. Guy Harrison, Head of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s Prosperity Fund in Nigeria, had signed the MoU together with the Secretary to the State Government, Mr. Tokunbo Talabi, towards ensuring that people can live and work in Ogun State peacefully. In furthering this, Abiodun yesterday had a tour of one of the smart cities of the Future Cities Nigeria programme in London. At the meeting were Matt Uzell of Adam Smith International, Bob Allies of Allies and Morrison, and other investors and consultants.
The governor also met with a delegation from the Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC), led by Nisrin Abouelezz, Regional Group Head, Africa (International & Structured Finance). SMBC is a reputable Japanese bank with over 400 local branches and 19 overseas branches, excluding sub-branches and agencies. The bank, with a balance sheet of $1.6trillion, is looking to fund projects in Ogun State because of the prospects that are laid bare to it.
The Mabey Group, a UK group of companies which specialise in steel, plant hire, engineering and construction products, is also looking to invest in the infrastructure of the state. The team from the group, led by Michael Treacy, President and Founder, Treacy & Company met with Governor Abiodun in London to discuss and fine-tune details of the partnership that would bring to reality the interest and commitment of the Group to invest in the infrastructural development of Ogun State.
It is expected that as the investment drive gains momentum, Ogun State would begin to feel the impact of these collaborations. The State’s PPP is also expected to thrive further, as local and international private investors are continuously willing to bring their business to the state to enjoy its ease of doing business status
Abiodun also met with Konexa, an energy operator willing to invest in Africa, making Ogun State its location of choice.
The group was represented by the CEO, Pradeep Pursnani and the Senior Vice President, Partnerships & Impact, Simon Meier.
Konexa is an energy solutions company which specialises in and operates grid and off-grid energy systems across Africa. The group features as one of a number of investors the governor had earlier met with in London across sectors including housing, transportation, agribusiness, energy and manufacturing.