Former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo has stated that Africa is in dire need of investments, even as he warned foreign investors to be wary of the pervasive presence of some unscrupulous elements in the continent.
Speaking during the Africa-Dubai Business Investment Summit organised by the Africa World Business Centre (AWBC) and Leaders Without Borders on Wednesday, he said the activities of crooks should not discourage those bringing funds to develop critical sectors.
Naija News reports Obasanjo as saying, “Africa is crying for investments and there can be no better, auspicious period for investment in Africa,” adding that “what we should all bear in mind is buyer beware; there are crooks everywhere”.
“I believe, in the past, probably some unscrupulous Africans have done what they should not have done or businessmen. Investors in Africa from the United Arab Emirates have met such unscrupulous people; but I do not say that that is limited to Africa.”
He however pointed out that Africa has “real men and women of integrity (honest and), people that you can do business with, either at individual, at corporate or even at government level”.
The former Nigerian leader said business interactions between the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Africa, should be a two-way thing, lamenting that the insufficient knowledge about Africa is impeding the flow of investments into the continent.
“I would say that there has been substantial, tangible investment in the United Arab Emirates from Africa, particularly in the area of properties.”
He blamed limited investments on Africa from the UAE on poor knowledge, stressing that insufficient understanding and inadequate confidence explain why nothing flows in both directions, as it should have been.
“I do believe that Africa has the greatest yield in terms of returns for investment in the world today; but then, how do you get there?” he asked.
The 84-year-old, however, said that with the Africa Continental Free Trade Zone Agreement and other efforts being made by leaders on the continent, investing in Africa will become easier.
According to him, “You will not have to think of 55 different custom regulations, 55 different immigration systems and our leaders have moved fast in that direction.
“When the treaty was signed, it was this treaty that came into force within the shortest period of time and that is the interest that our leaders have shown. So, the problem of having to deal with 55 different immigration, 55 different custom rules and regulations will soon be a thing of the past.”