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Tue 14 Mar 2017 10:49 AM

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Nigeria ripe for GCC investments

Agriculture should be particularly attractive, according to Jamie Simmons, CEO, Access Bank UK

Nigeria ripe for GCC investments

GCC countries should look to invest in Nigeria, especially in infrastructure and the agricultural sectors, according to Jamie Simmons, CEO, Access Bank UK.

“If you look at one of the priorities in the GCC region, and particularly the UAE, it is food security,” Simmons told Arabian Business.

“Historically, for Nigeria and before oil was found, agriculture was a key area. It still accounts for 40 percent of GDP and I think when it comes to the commodity cycle, there is a re-evaluation of where can Nigeria grow. The government is supporting the sector and it logical for this region to do business with Nigeria in this area.”

Though Nigeria was heavily hit due to the decline in the oil prices, Simmons is of the view that the first half of 2017 is likely to be challenging but gradual improvement will occur in the second half as the government is looking at ways of supporting infrastructure  in roads, train systems and logistics.

Banks, according to Simmons, are much robust than 2008 as they are now well capitalized and well run and will not face major challenges.

“The banks went through a lot during the crisis in 2008 and there were significant consolidations and mergers,” he said.

“Banks will have an increase in non-performing loans but there is no overall concern to the sector. Yes, there are constrains due to the shortage of dollars and devaluation of the Nigerian currency Naira, but the resilience of the banking industry compared to the crisis in 2008 is much better.”

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