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“We are building on strategic advantages to make CRS a hotspot for tourism and businesses.”- Prince Otu

Oru Leonard 

The Governor of Cross River State, His Excellency Senator Prince Bassey Edet Otu has said that his administration is building on the strategic advantages towards making the state a hotspot for tourism and businesses. With the annual Calabar carnival tagged as the biggest street party in Africa, hosting hundreds of thousands of tourists from around the world.

In his welcome address on Tuesday during the Cross River State Executive Governor’s Roundtable themed, “Building Cooperation for a Better Today and Resilient Future.”, the Cross River State, Prince Bassey Otu, has showcased attractive investment opportunities in various sectors in the state to members of the diplomatic community, development partners and prospective investors, targeting $9 billion economy for the state by 2031.

He said the theme of the roundtable aligns with his administration’s people first mantra which aims at putting the people at the forefront in the state’s developmental agenda, noting that the forum was the first in a series of engagements planned by the state to build strong collaborative ties with the diplomatic community and development partners towards a mutually beneficial long-term future.

“We are building on these strategic advantages towards making the state a hotspot for tourism and businesses. With the annual Calabar carnival tagged as the biggest street party in Africa, hosting hundreds of thousands of tourists from around the world.

“The state has opportunities for cooperation which cuts across sectors such as infrastructure, healthcare, social development, education, social development, humanitarian services, agribusiness, commerce, industry, manufacturing, solid minerals, oil and gas and also hospitality.”

Speaking, India High Commissioner to Nigeria, Shri G. Balasubramanian, who recalled the relationship between India and Nigeria started in 1958, said India currently has over 155 companies operating in Nigeria and one of them was involved in the development of the TINAPA economic zones.

He noted that there was keen interest in India at the possibility of acquiring some land on lease for the development of agricultural products and certainly Cross River State will be an area of priority.

Also speaking, Israel’s Ambassador to Nigeria, Michael Freeman, said Israel stands ready to partner with Cross River State on a plethora of areas, including irrigation and rice farming.

“Israel stands ready to work with Cross River State to address shared challenges that lie ahead by embracing innovation, collaboration and a shared sense of purpose. We can create a more sustainable, secure and prosperous future,” Freeman said.

While addressing newsmen on the sidelines of the roundtable, the Cross River State Commissioner for Information, Hon Erasmus Ekpang, maintained that the government was involved in meaningful action to turn around the economic fortunes of the state.

Ekpang said the meeting was about the 4th similar summits, others being economic and energy summits earlier held, adding that the government will put more pressure and ensure commitment by prospective investors.

Among the notable attendees were James Christoff, the High Commissioner of Canada; Ambassador Leenknegt from the Belgium embassy; Mr. Jean-Francois Hasperue, Deputy Head of Mission at the French embassy; H.E. Mr. G. Balasubramanian, representing the India High Commission; Michael Freeman, Ambassador of the State of Israel in Nigeria; and Ms. Kristin Waeringsaase, Minister Counselor and Deputy Head of Mission at the Norwegian embassy.

Also present are Senator Sen Jarigbe Agom representing Cross River North, Senator William Eteng Jones, representing Cross River Central, Hon Peter Akpanke House of Representatives member representing Obanliku, Bekwarra, Obodu Federal Constituency, Hon Godwin Offiono representing Ogoja/Yala Federal Constituency, Hon. Mike Etaba representing Obubra/Etung Federal Constituency and Hon Victor Abang (Mature), representing Ikom/Boki Federal Constituency amongst others.

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