President Muhammadu Buhari, governor Bello Masari and hundreds of participants and exhibiting companies from Nigeria and other nations are set for this year’s Katsina state economic and investment summit.
The chairman of the organising committee, Alhaji Ibrahim Tukur Jikamshi, who confirmed the development, said the event is scheduled to hold in the state from May 9-11, 2016.
He said the president has accepted to attend and declare the event open while the governor who has done a lot to stimulate investment in the state will host it.
The chairman said, the summit is conceptualised as a platform to showcase the state natural economic features to the outside world, as well as to attract investors to the developmental needs of the state.
“The Katsina State Economic & Investment Summit is about diversification of the state economy, it is about creating awareness among the citizens of the state about the need to be entrepreneur conscious, to be creative and self reliance.
“The Summit is going to be a forum where we will bring together people that have the capacity to invest within the state, the country, and the world at large to deliberate on the investment opportunities available in the state, and to look at the ways of tapping into the opportunities ” he maintained.
Jikamshi disclosed that the summit is also targeted at ensuring that all under – utilised resources are put into productive use.
He said that the summit which has, ‘Unlocking Investment Potentials for Sustainable Development’ as its theme is further conceived to realise holistic development of the state.
He said the event would enhance the showcasing of the state many selling point to local and foreign investors.
“ The selling point of the state are numerous, however, the primarily objective of the summit is to expose to the people what they know or may not have known about the state, One of the thing we want to expose to them is the state agriculture potential, on the first note, when it come to Agriculture, Katsina state is number one in the area of Cotton Production in the country, this is a big selling point, and the state is doing everything possible now to position itself as the leading Cotton production, and processing hub in West Africa.
“Secondly, Katsina state is the number two producer of Sugar Cane in the country, and the state is also trying to position itself as the leading exporter of refined sugar in the ECOWAS sub region. Katsina state is also the second biggest producer of Sorghum in the country; so certainly, the state is trying to leverage on this advantage to attract investment from the world leading producer of the commodity which is America to develop the commodity across the value chain.
“Other selling point is that Katsina is currently ranked number seven in term of ease to doing business in the country, rated far better than Kano, far better than Lagos, even far ahead of Rivers State; these are states that people naturally believe are more viable than Katsina.
“ Similarly, the peace and tranquility which the state is enjoying, is also another very important selling point, and most importantly the state is Land linked with the neighboring Niger Republic, and you know once you are linked to Niger Republic, you are linked as far as to the whole of the Sahel region of the world” he added.
Jikamshi disclosed that big corporate entities, such as, Dangote Group, Ericson Food, Cadbury, and other big players in the agriculture value chain would be participating in the summit.
He remarked that several foreign countries have also indicated interest to participate in the summit while many small and medium scale companies have also indicated interest to attend.
“It will witness the signing of business deals between investor within and outside the country. The Katsina summit will be the first place since inception of the recent government that the president will have one on one interface with investor’s community in Nigeria”
“Katsina state is endowed with 61 water bodies, as well as six Water Dams to facilitate irrigation farming for improved cotton production, which would provide value chain, which interested investors, will tap from,” he added.
He disclosed that Katsina State is very strategic, especially as it provides a link to Trans-Saharan trade route via Niger Republic and some West Africa countries as such will serve as a link for international trade for the nation.
The chairman said Katsina will provide an amusement park for recreation, just as he also revealed that the state has large deposits of silicon for glass production.
He said the state is secured for participants during and after the event because it has no history of crisis or terrorism.
The disclosed that the event will have technical and breakout sessions to be chaired by notable personnel like the Central Bank Governor, Godwin Eimefele, Ahmed Tinibu, the President of ECOWAS Investment Bank among others, thus enhancing networking as well as partnering among companies and organisations.