Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Aiming for a Piece of Nigeria's Portfolio

New York Times
26 October 2011


Wanted: A reliable overseas business partner to invest more than $1 billion presently trapped in Nigeria.

This is not a scam.

Nigeria, the West African nation that has gained notoriety for the illicit e-mail spammers aiming for Western bank accounts, is attracting attention for legitimate financial opportunities - investing its own savings.

In an effort to preserve and increase its oil revenue, the country recently established a so-called sovereign wealth fund, following the path of many resource-rich countries. Now, Wall Street titans like Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and JPMorgan Chase are courting top government officials, aiming to grab a piece of a portfolio that could eventually be worth tens of billions of dollars.

''The country is at a point of inflection, and what we do in the next few years will set the pace,'' said Olusegun Aganga, the former Nigerian finance minister and current minister for trade and investment, who helped create the sovereign wealth fund. ''It's a land of opportunities, which unfortunately has not been tapped well.''

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