As the financial advisor to Bayelsa, Nigeria’s largest oil producing state, Musa Capital hosted an investment forum in Sandton, Johannesburg, in late October to introduce senior officials of Bayelsa and the central Nigerian government to 130 South African corporates, medium-sized businesses, and para-statals seeking opportunities in sub-Saharan Africa.
As a consequence of the forum and other Musa Capital initiatives, memoranda of understanding and letters of intent for co-operation with Bayelsa State have been signed with the IDC, the Black Business Council of South Africa, and engineering company PD Naidoo and Associates (PDNA) Resources and Energy.
The IDC will assist Bayelsa State with capacity building for the formation of the State’s new development finance institution, the Bayelsa Development and Investment Corporation, which has opened an office in Sandton. The Black Business Council of South Africa and Bayelsa State will work together to identify and match black South African industrialists with investment and development opportunities in the State. PDNA will provide the State with engineering, procurement, and construction management capabilities related to oil and gas production and the built environment.
The Bayelsa Investment Forum marked a turning point in African collaboration, with Bayelsa State pro-actively looking for intra-continental rather than extra-continental co-operation and focusing on commercial rather than purely political commitment.
Musa Capital director, Antoine Johnson, says that Musa’s own approach to the investment and development mandates it accepts in Africa meshes closely with Bayelsa State’s intentions. “We’ve spent 17 years in many different countries connecting African entrepreneurs and opportunities with sophisticated financial instruments and disciplines in order to rapidly trigger the levels of growth that are attractive to investors and will, therefore, bolster economic sustainability for all parties. “What we’re seeing now is the multiplier effect at work, with Africans who have been the beneficiaries of growth investment in the past two decades now positioned to invest in other Africans who don’t have the full means to exploit the quite remarkable opportunities they possess.
“We therefore thoroughly endorse Bayelsa State’s focus on encouraging Africans to participate in opportunities – such as the building of infrastructure and the environmentally conscious development of the State’s exceptional resources – that currently exist or will become available as revenues from its oil production are directed to the State’s development plans.”
Bayelsa State urgently needs an airport, as tourists and business people must land in a neighbouring state and travel four hours by road to reach the State’s amenities. An unfinished hotel needs completion; and a hospital that has been built and equipped needs management assistance. “With a little additional financial momentum and operational expertise, these projects can be finished quickly and make a significant impact on the State’s ability to not only better service its own citizens but also generate revenue that is not directly tied to its oil and gas reserves,” Johnson says. “We see this kind of diversification as crucial to the long term sustainability of the State and its people.
“Longer term projects representing substantial opportunities for businesses of all sizes include expansion of oil production and initiation of natural gas production, the building of roads, railways, and a port, and development of a built environment that will house the industrial and commercial sectors.”
Bayelsa State’s call to the rest of Africa for investment and operational assistance is supported by Nigeria’s president, Goodluck Jonathan. Musa Capital arranged for a delegation comprised of the governor of Bayelsa State, the honourable Henry Seriake Dickson, the chief economic advisor to the Bayelsa State Government, Tamunoye Alazigha, the commissioner of the State’s ministry of finance, Patmore Iyabi, and Inibehe Okori, a member of the Nigerian Economic Intelligence Committee in the Presidency and honorary advisor to Governor Dickson, to have discussions with South African business leaders and financial institutions during a two-day visit in October.
Hosted by Musa Capital, representatives of the South African organisations will visit Bayelsa State during November.