Waiting for America
An Address Presented by the Governor of Anambra State, His Excellency, Chief Willie Obiano to Mark the Signing of a Mutually Beneficial Agreement with the City of Orange, New Jersey, USA at the City of Orange Township Municipal Building on July 8, 2019
I bring you greetings from the good people of Anambra State. This is one visit I have looked forward to. I have two reasons for that. First, I have been told that Orange is a beautiful city with a lot of beautiful and friendly people. And secondly, I have also heard that this is one of the cities where we can find the expertise and wise counsel that we need to develop Anambra State.
This is therefore, a historic moment for Anambra State and I believe, for the City of Orange as well. I say this because what Anambra State might not have in cutting edge technology and expertise we have in human and material resources. Anambra is the birthplace of Nollywood; the second largest film industry in the world today in terms of output. Our land is blessed with natural gas, crude oil, bauxite, kaolin, salt, gypsum, lead, lignite, limestone and iron ore among many other natural resources.
We have the largest retail market in West Africa. With an economy of N3.8 trillion, Anambra has the lowest poverty rate in Nigeria with $2.295 per capita. And if Anambra were an independent country, our GDP per capita would have been 17th in Africa. Anambra will be ahead of Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Cote de Voire, Senegal, Tanzania and Rwanda to name a few. We have great tourism potentials with the Ogbaukwu Caves and Waterfalls in Owerre-Ezukala and Ogbunike Cave in Ogbunike. Anambra is the 10th most populous state in Nigeria with a population of 6.5m people and a population density of 860 per square kilometre. And in the past five years, we have been Nigeria’s safest state with crime rate at its lowest in living memory.
Since I was sworn in as governor a little over five years ago, my team and I have been intensely focused on changing the narrative of our people. In doing so, we had declared that our Vision is “To be the first choice investment destination and the hub for industrialization and commercial activities.” We also announced that our Mission is “To create a socially stable, business friendly environment that will attract both indigenes and foreigners to wealth creating opportunities in Anambra State.”
Ladies and gentlemen, five years down the road, I am proud to say that we have walked our talk. We have made Anambra Nigeria’s most peaceful and business-friendly environment and we have attracted a considerable volume of investments over the past five years. We have invested heavily in education and as a result, a group of five school girls from Anambra State shocked the world in August last year when they defeated the United States, China, Spain, Turkey and Uzbekistan to win the Gold Medal at the World Technovation Challenge held at the Silicon Valley, here in the USA. Following the footsteps of our Golden Girls, four boys from St John’s Science and Technical College School, Alor also won the Bronze Medal at the World Festival of Engineering, Science and Technology in Tunisia in March this year. All these give us hope to believe that our future will be brighter than our present!
Ladies and gentlemen, it is no exaggeration to say that Anambra State is the best place to locate an industry in Nigeria at the moment. We have one of the highest literacy rates in the country, we offer access to the largest retail market in West Africa and we have the largest crop of experienced middlemen and suppliers with enough expertise to move goods across Africa. We also have easy access to industrial land which we have mapped out in our Land-Bank and a speedy company registration and issuance of a Certificate of Occupancy in record time. And perhaps more importantly, we have been ranked as the most transparent and accountable state in Nigeria for having complied with International Public Sector Accounting System accounting standards.
What we look Forward to in this Partnership
Ladies and gentlemen, we are looking for partners that will help us exploit our natural resources. We have over 40 trillion standard cubic feet of gas that has not been touched yet. We need partners that will exploit these rich reserves of gas for our mutual benefits. We need partners for the establishment of modular refineries. We also need partners in the power generation, agriculture, agro-allied industries and in the establishment of Industrial Parks.
Above all, we are looking for partners in Education, Healthcare Delivery, Mass Transit and in Leisure and Tourism.
Ladies and gentlemen, Anambra State is at her finest moment in history. Our youths are doing exploits and doing our country proud in science and technology. Our home-bred entrepreneurs are investing heavily in different sectors in the state. Last summer, we took our investment drive to Austria and threw our doors wide open to Europe. Today we are here in the lovely city of Orange to invite America.
Ladies and gentlemen, Anambra is ready. We are waiting for America!