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PwC seeks improved economic ties between W’Africa, Lebanon




Highlights investment opportunities in sub-region

PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) has called for further deepening of economic and trade relations between West Africa and Lebanon.

This call was made at a breakfast meeting recently hosted by the firm for Lebanese business leaders. The event, which was put together by PwC firms across West Africa, in collaboration with PwC in the Middle East, was aimed at providing informed analyses of the political and socio-economic status of the sub-region with the view to highlighting its immense investment opportunities.

Partner and Energy leader at PwC Nigeria, Darrell McGraw noted that the economic indicators of West Africa make the sub-region an attractive destination for investments from across the globe and Lebanese businesses he said, must key into this, especially given the long historical relationship with West African countries.

He said: ”There is no shortage of superlatives to describe West Africa and the potential of her economy. The abundance of natural resources, a population projected to reach 400 million by 2020, two-thirds of which are under twenty five and the deepening of democratic institutions across the region presents an attractive and stable environment for investment.

“We know that the region is home to over 150,000 Lebanese, many of whom have established successful businesses and we at PwC think there is room for the deepening of this mutual beneficial relationship especially by exploring the many untapped potential of the region”

Partner and Head of Tax services at PwC Lebanon, Wadih AbouNasr, who welcomed the participants and highlighted the current volumes of trade between Lebanon and the countries in West Africa, notably Nigeria, Ghana and Cote D’Ivoire, stressed specifically the areas in which opportunities exist.

The Development Director of South Energyx Nigeria Limited, Pierre Edde, who delivered the keynote address, explained that the design, planned infrastructure and investment opportunities in the new Eko Atlantic city being developed out of the Atlantic Ocean in Lagos, is expected to house over 250,000 residents and businesses in an area covering about 10 million square meters.

The Tax Partner at PwC Nigeria, Abolade Kehinde, spoke on the operational tax and risk factors involved in doing business in Nigeria, while Darrell McGraw gave a presentation on the possible economic scenarios for Nigeria in 2015 and 2016, following the successful general elections and the volatility in the global oil price.

Citing a recent PwC economic report on Nigeria, McGraw noted that despite oil’s importance to Nigeria, the real economy is largely insulated against falling oil prices, hence, the economy will continue to grow despite low oil prices.

The opportunities in Francophone Africa were also highlighted in a third presentation by Partner in Advisory and Audit for PwC in Cameroon, Douty Fadiga and Partner at PwC Cote d’Ivoire, Madeleine Tanoe.
with close to fifty top Lebanese business leaders from various sectors in attendance. Also on hand to engage the attendants were Andrei Ugarov, an Advisory Partner with PwC Nigeria and Nada ElSayed, Tax Partner at PwC Lebanon.

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