Abuja – Africa’s youngest billionaire, Ashish Thakkar, said on Monday in Abuja that Nigeria remained a land of opportunities for investors despite negative stories about it.Thakkar, President of Mara Group, stated this in an interview with State House Correspondents after holding a closed door meeting with President Goodluck Jonathan at the Presidential Villa. The Uganda-born billionaire said that the reality and the potentials in Nigeria were quite different from the negative report of the country in the international media. “There is a huge difference between perception and reality. “I think the perception happened to be negative today but it is a very unfortunate case because when we come here, what we see and what we experience show that Nigeria is a very different place. “Nigeria is going through transformation and I think Africa as a whole, we are going through transformation and I think one thing as African is that we are 54 countries and we generalise in our assessments.“In Nigeria, we may see some few pockets of challenges, but, overall this is a country full of opportunities with people with a lot of energy.“You can feel the energy when you land here. I have travelled to so many different countries every month, but when I land in Nigeria I feel the energy which is the amazing point,’’ he said.Thakkar stressed that Nigeria remained his best investment destination in Africa.“We have offices in 22 African countries but when the CNN recently asked me my favourite country in Africa, I said Nigeria.“This is something that we are very serious about and we are very confident of,’’ he said. He said his conglomerate had investments in a few of States in the country and already had about 200 employees.“We have glass manufacturing plant in Rivers State “We have done ground breaking on glass manufacturing plant, phase one is over 110 million dollars while the phase two is about 100 million dollars. “We are also looking at investments in the agriculture sector, we have ICT investments. We are very confident of the Nigerian market and the future of Nigeria’’, he said. The 31-yearold billionaire advised Nigeria youths to be focused, work hard, be honest and persevere to attain their dreams.
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