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Launch of Nigerian-Irish Chamber is ‘wake-up call’ for would-be investors

Last update - Sunday, December 15, 2013, 18:19 By Chinedu Onyejelem

Businesspeople in Ireland who are planning to expand their interests abroad have been urged to look at the “massive opportunities” available in Nigeria.

That was the message from Graham Hanlon, chief executive of Nigerian-Irish Chamber of Commerce, at the relaunch of the organisation in Dublin recently.
“It is time for Africa. It is time for Irish businesses to invest there. Like the sunset, Nigeria is open for business,” he added.
Hanlon, who is also a solicitor and former world president of Junior Chamber International, added that the Nigerian-Irish Chamber of Commerce would assist member entrepreneurs in establishing their businesses in Nigeria.
Nigerian Ambassador to Ireland Felix Pwol, who delivered the keynote address at the event, said the relaunch was “a wake-up call” for business leaders and entrepreneurs.
He urged them to promote sustainable business between Nigeria and Ireland, making reference to the two countries’ long-standing relationship since Nigeria gained independence in 1960.
According to Ambassador Pwol, the success of the chamber would assist Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan’s transformation agenda, which aims to bring investment into the country.
He highlighted the ongoing reform of the power sector, saying that a regular supply of electricity will impact positively in other sectors of the Nigerian economy.
“The Nigerian government has taken many bold steps in making Nigeria an investment destination,” he said
However, the ambassador also emphasised to investors coming to Nigeria to expect challenges.
“Investors would likely face hiccups if and when they decide to invest in Nigeria,” he said. “There are opportunities and there are challenges and even in the challenges, there are opportunities.”
Sean Hoy, deputy director of Africa desk in the Department of Foreign Affairs and who spoke on behalf of Minister for Trade and Development Joe Costello, said there were many reasons why Ireland should be doing business in Nigeria.
He said in particular that the Government would like to see more Irish involvement in vocational training in Africa’s most populous nation.
On the recent Irish trade mission to Nigeria, Hoy said it was very successful, adding that Irish companies in Nigeria are currently employing over 5,000 people.

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