The US Agency for International Development (USAID) and the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID) have assured of their readiness to partner with Sokoto government for development of key sectors.

The leading development agencies promised to provide technical assistance and expertise where necessary.

They stated that transparency and good governance will always attract foreign investors.

This was the highpoint of a two-day business opportunity forum organised by the Sokoto State government which ended yesterday.

The agencies and investment experts also pointed out that favourable legislation and commitment to transparency will boost investments across the federation.

They urged states like Sokoto to actively engage in data mapping because success of public institutions depend not only on the possession of resources but on efficient application of sound management principles based on accurate data utilisation.

Speaking at the opening of the summit, Governor Aminu Tambuwal said the dwindling resources in the country has made it imperative for states to look forward to private investment to survive.

He said Sokoto cannot afford to allow its incomes determined by hydro-carbon prices, which he said from forecasts, will likely remain low for the foreseeable future.

While disclosing that Sokoto was open to foreign investment because all necessary incentives were being put in place, Tambuwal said the state has comparative advantage in sectors like agriculture, tourism, mining and power generation.

Mission Director of the French investment agency AFD, Olivier Dellefosse, said the agency was ready to provide loans to the proposed micro-finance banks which Sokoto government is about to set up.

The main areas for AFD, according to the Director, were power generation, transmission and distribution, urban development, support for SMEs and agriculture.

He said the agency will explore areas of cooperation with the Sokoto government for the mutual benefit of the two entities.

The CEO of Aso Savings and Loans Ltd, Malam Hassan Usman, said the firm was willing to build 4,000 housing units in Sokoto in the next four years if the government provides land and guarantee buyers.

The Managing Director of Nigeria’s Sovereign Investment Authority, Uche Orji, said Sokoto must leverage on the peace it currently enjoys to sell its credentials to the outside world.

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