CBN Governor Godwin Emefiele

. Receives Forbes ‘Best of Africa Award’

Foreign exchange inflows into Nigeria through the Investors’ and Exporters’ FX Window has reached a whopping $10 billion since the window was launched six months ago, according to the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, who made the announcement on Thursday night in Washington D.C. where he received the Forbes ‘Best of Africa Award’ at an event hosted on the sideline of the 2017 Annual Meetings of the World Bank Group and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

In his address after he was formally named winner of the award, Emefiele told the audience made up of top banking and finance executives, diplomats, business executives, technocrats as well as journalists that Nigeria has overcome the difficult economic times occasioned mainly by the drop in the price of crude in the international market as well as foreign investors’ transfer of funds from emerging and frontier markets back to United States markets following the stability in that economy.

The governor however thanked the investors for returning to the market and hailed Nigerians for their resilience and patience as the apex bank and the President Muhammadu Buhari administration implemented reforms geared towards returning the country to its glory days of self-sufficiency in manufacturing and agriculture.

THEWILL notes that Nigeria formally exited recession in Q2 2017 after recording five consecutive quarters of negative growth. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) Tuesday predicted that Nigeria’s economy would grow faster than South Africa’s in 2017, thus returning the country to Africa’s largest economy.

“I am happy that today we are where we are but I think we must also thank our friends who have shown a lot of confidence in us, our foreign investors community have been very supportive. We took some decisions that they didn’t like but I’m happy that this time we’ve now taken one that really excites them, that is the opening of the investors’ window which has been particularly interesting to them and I must say that in 6 months we have seen close to about $10 billion in inflows into Nigeria as a result of that window… We thank them for their confidence in Nigeria once again,” the governor said.

While speaking on inflation, which hit 18% during the recession but has dropped to about 16% today, Emefiele expressed optimism that it will continue to decline.

“With some of the policies we have put in place we are optimistic that inflation will surely come down to the levels we have always known Nigeria for in the past…

“We thank Nigerians for standing with us, we know that we’ve managed to exit the recession with a fragile growth of 0.5%, we’ve seen inflation continue to trend downwards, we’ve seen exchange rate and reserves looking firmer and stronger, but I think we are determined to continue to push further to see to it that Nigeria returns to its historic growth path. 0.5% or 1% is not the historical growth path for Nigeria, Nigeria is a country that must grow at a rate that is at least twice population growth rate, that is at least 6% – 7% percent and until we achieve that we are not going to rest on our oars,” Emefiele assured.

He further called on investors who are yet to return to the country to do saying there are great opportunities in agriculture and that is the reason why the CBN launched the flagship Anchors Borrowers’ Programme, a very successful scheme that is helping farmers with loans to expand their food production.

”Nigeria has a lot of potentials, the climate is good, the environment is good, Nigerians are hospitable people and that’s why we boldly say that Nigeria is good for business. There are few countries today that you will visit and say you want to invest in, but the returns are not as high as it is in Nigeria. We want to invite you and that for me is the message here today. Come to Nigeria…”

The naira currently trades at about N360 – $1 in the open foreign exchange markets.

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