By Andy Sambidge
Saudi Arabian billionaire tells country's president that 'funds are not a constraint'
Saudi Arabia's Prince Alwaleed bin Talal al Saud is looking to "activate" investments in Nigeria, and has told the country's president that "funds are not a constraint".
The Gulf kingdom's richest man, who is the largest individual stakeholder in Citigroup, said he wanted to begin a "strong relationship with Nigeria".
Alwaleed, who was named as the world’s richest Arab by Arabian Business magazine in December 2010 with assets of $20.4bn, said he was attracted by Nigeria because the market was large, adding that “any investor in Africa who does not come to Nigeria has not started and has a long way to go”.
He said his company, Kingdom Zephyr Africa Management Company has interests in most African countries in hotels, banking, cement production, oil and charity projects.
“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 Goodluck Ebele Jonathan during a meeting on Thursday.
Jonathan told Prince Alwaleed that Nigeria is essentially a green field, in the areas of hotels, real estate, infrastructure, energy and agriculture, adding that the consensus of the participants at the Nigeria Economic Summit Group was that the country would become Africa’s largest economy in the medium term.
The president directed the Nigeria Investment Promotion Commission to provide the "necessary support to further facilitate investment relations between Kingdom Zephyr Africa Management Company and Nigeria".
Earlier this week, Prince Alwaleed inaugurated the $100m Movenpick Ambassador Hotel in Accra, a joint venture between his Kingdom Holding Company and the government of Ghana.