Some people said the stones were left to increase the weight of the rice and cheat customers. But its probably because the producers lacked the tools to really weed out all the stones that come with harvesting it.
In recent times, eﬀorts have been made to improve the rive grown in the state with rice mills and more acreage being planted. The state also has salt and limestone that are available in commercial quantities.
As part of the old South eastern state, Abakiliki and Aﬁkpo were considered the states backwaters. Mostly made of rural farmers, the areas produced what the state needed and nothing more. Often, they were not treated well and seemed cut oﬀ from the main stream of Igbo life.
Ebonyi has borne the brunt of this. The creation of the state was a liberation of sorts and has helped bridge some of the gaps. But you can still see the result of her disconnect with the rest of the Igbo population in the way it reacts to zonal issues.
Sometimes taking a diﬀerent position from the rest of the zone on national issues. This is understandable though eﬀorts have been made to bridge this. The eﬀect is that the state is less likely to welcome investors from the rest of the zone to explore its huge potential as an agricultural state.
Under the right circumstance, the state should see itself as the agricultural state of the East. Modernizing its agriculture will require investments from outside and should it position itself, the closest investors it could get are those from the zone.
DevEast belIeves in the specialization of states in the zone to allow it attract investment and help develop the zone as a single economic zone. Ebonyi state is the natural place to focus the zones agricultural specialization.
The Government and elites of Ebonyi must rise up and take the lead in positioning the state as the Agricultural base of the South-East able to produce enough food for the region and beyond.
They must promote and create incentives for the private sector to bring in the investment that is required to build agro processing plants and develop the Agricultural value-chain.
Anambra state is the most aggressive and enterprising state in the East, even perhaps Nigeria. It owes this to the early exposure of people of Anambra to trade and education.
Anambra boasts of some of the biggest names in Nigeria from trade, manufacturing, education and wealth.The Anambra person is the biggest symbol of Igbo mercantilism and industry, succeeding where only individualism and a can-do spirit is needed.
They also symbolize one of the traits Igbos are accused of today in Nigeria: arrogant display of wealth and vanity. Perhaps in their defense, its mostly wealth that is acquired through hard work and not corruption that is prevalent in Nigeria.
It is this spirit that makes Anambra home to Nnewi, the biggest indigenous manufacturing city in Nigeria. Nnewi is so categorised because her growth as an industrial hub has been community and self driven. Most towns in Anambra to a large extent share the
A lot of what’s required already exist. Anambra is reputed to have the best interconnection of rural roads in Nigeria,making every community in the state accessible.
The state has also invested heavily in education , overcoming the image of the state as the leader in male drop out in schools. Today, the state comes ﬁrst in high school results in Nigeria.
The state is also the most organized in the South East in attracting its citizens to invest in the state. And provides the platform for them to easily get the support of government in investing locally.
Institutionalise Reforms: Strenghten The existing structures and make them less political while being self sustaining
Branding: The state should brand itself as a manufacturing hub. It beggars belief why it brands itself as the light of the nation). And focus its energy in selling this idea to ﬁrst its citizens , then the East and Nigeria. I don’t support state governments that start their investment drives in US and Europe. It’s a futile exercise. No one will invest in your state if your state indigenes don’t
Clarity: The state should also deﬁne the incentives that will make an investor come to the state as against any other. Nigeria and most states of Nigeria still don’t understand that an investor coming to their state is not being done a favor. They have options. In most states, investors spend time lobbying to see government oﬃcials who post them around and ask for bribes to enable them invest.
Access to Information: The state must also invest in the facilities that will make it easier for people to invest in the state. Few states who ask for investors make the eﬀort to provide adequate information to potential investors. As an example, if I am based in Europe or Lagos or Abuja and want to invest in any part of Nigeria, how will I get information that will lead me to Anambra state without having to visit the state? A good functional dedicated website can also achieve this.
Political Will and Citizen Buy-in: Let Anambra convince itself that it can become the manufacturing hub of Eastern Nigeria. And then convince the rest of us that they are serious about it. It will be surprised at what response it will get from its citizens, easterners and Nigeria.
170 Million Nigeria with less than 10% able to travel abroad. Owerri and indeed Imo State can provide an alternative local holiday/tourist destination.
This is huge money on the table that must be explored by all serious entrepreneurs desirous of investing in the east.
Owerri is the center of the South East and South South. Reachable easily by road and air by almost a 3rd of Nigeria.
Secondly, Igbos are a diaspora nation. Its a diaspora nation that wants to come home weekends, holidays, Christmas and anything in-between. And when they come home, they need a place to relax, and have fun. In the South East, Owerri oﬀers this very easily.
The indigenous culture of Owerri is also helpful. This town from time has been known to welcome visitors. Owerri is probably one of the most welcoming towns in the East.
Owerri has the highest hotel density in Nigeria yet always fully booked.
Open a one stop investment center for any individual or corporate that wants to invest in tourism in the state .
With a guarantee to cut o ﬀ bureaucracy and government corruption in dealing with investors Invest in security.
Build institutions that support tourism.
Help standardize hotel operations. Hotel rating agencies to classify hotels in state.
Concession Oguta lake to competent international tourism operators . A look at what Rwanda turned Lake Kivu, similar to Oguta will be helpful.
Sell concept to private sector .
Starting with indigenes. Then South Easterners. And then Nigeria and the world. Designate the state as a tourism hub for entire South East
For the South East to thrive, it needs a center for research, development and creativity. It can do this by building an industry out of it.
In education, healthcare, and technology entrepreneurship. Enugu beneﬁted from a large number of Federal institutions that were meant for the South East in Education, healthcare and others.
So today, it has the best chance of developing a hub for high quality education, healthcare and innovation research for the Eastern part of the country.
Create an enabling environment to support research, creativity and innovation.
Create special belts or cluster areas for such industries as (Educations, Technology Hubs/Accelerators and Specialised Hospitals) and seek out eastern professionals and investors from all over the world to come home and invest in such specialized institutions that work well in clusters.
The state should create a framework that makes it easy for investors to come in and get the support they need to set up complete with an Investment Desk to minimize the need to see the Governor before actions are taken.
Provide a fast track service for land acquisitions, company registration, tax incentives and other resources needed for investors to feel comfortable
Although Abia State through her border communities are oil bearing, Abia is more synonymous with crafts, manufacturing and Trade.
Most of these activities happen in Aba and it’s only ﬁtting to say that where Aba goes, Abia goes. It’s sad that Aba has been left to decay by successive administrations but the private sector can step-in as there’s clearly money on the table to be made.
Aba is the fashion capital of the East if not the whole of West Africa (in terms of production). Over 800,000 pairs of shoes, 300,000 Leather Products are made daily while about 1,500,000 clothing items are produced weekly in Aba. This clearly can get better, but, it can also leverage on a wider distribution network to boost production.
Show commitment to improving security.
Streamline the kind of industries that will attract investors to Aba. Beyond Aba’s reputation for shoes and clothing, Abia has oil and gas. And oil and gas based manufacturing that could see to the development of petrochemical industries will ﬁt the state.
It was easy for Aba to become the second city that had gas facilities piped to industrial manufacturers after Lagos because of its access to gas.
The Abia elite must return to take ownership and drive the progress of the State.
The state can learn a thing or two in selling itself to investors. And here I mean investors ﬁrst from the state and then South East, and Nigeria. Its citizens hold the key to reviving Aba.
A lot of them moved away from the town when it become dangerous to operate a business there. The state has to show in real terms that these people can come back. And provide guarantees and incentives.