ABUJA: Nigeria has signed a $1 billion memorandum of understanding with General Electric to build a factory that could create up to 2,300 jobs in Africa’s most populous country, a statement said today.
The deal includes $250 million (183 million euros) in up-front spending on the project in the southeast city of Calabar, near the oil hub of Port Harcourt, with the balance of the funds to be invested over time.
Trade and Investment Minister Olusegun Aganga said the deal was in line with Nigeria’s twin goals of improving power supplies and diversifying the economy beyond energy production, although the statement did not specify what the factory would produce.
Nigeria, Africa’s top oil producer, still sees rolling power cuts every day but the government of President Goodluck Jonathan has promised to improve electricity supply.
Oil and gas earnings have largely been responsible for Nigeria’s steady economic growth over the last ten years, which has averaged seven percent, according to official figures.
But the government’s own statistics also say that poverty actually worsened in the country between 2004 and 2010, a trend that analysts said was partly the result of excessive reliance on an energy sector that produces few jobs.