ABIA State of Nigeria

Abia State was carved out of the former Imo State in 1991. It is one of the thirty-six (36) States which constitute the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Abia people are of the Igbo ethnic group who predominates much of the Southeastern part of Nigeria. Their traditional language is Igbo. English is widely spoken and serves as the official language in governance and business. Globally, Igbos are well travelled. Abia's 2.4m people are mainly Christians and entrepreneurial. They are known and reputed to be industrious, highly market oriented, very hospitable and accommodating, probably due to their migratory nature.

Business Profile • Infastructure

"Our vision is that Abia State should become an economically vibrant State with numerous agro-industrial concerns; a State committed to the welfare, health education and happiness of its citizens; a State providing opportunities for self-actualization through investments in education, infrastructure and human capital, and producing a workforce that can compete with any in the world; a business-friendly Government whose guiding principles shall be transparency, accountability, integrity, equity and honesty." Gov. ORJI UZOR KALU (M.O.N)

I. Geography:
Abia State which occupies about 5834 square kilometer, is bounded on the north and northeast by the states of Anambra, Enugu, and Ebonyi. To the west of Abia is Imo State, the east and southeast are Cross River and Akwa Ibom States, and to the south is Rivers State. The southern part of the State lies within the riverine part of Nigeria. It is low-lying with a heavy rainfall of about 2400 mm/year especially intense between the months of April through October. The rest of the State is moderately high plain. The most important rivers in Abia State are the Imo and Aba rivers which flow into the Atlantic Ocean through the Niger Delta.

II. Administration:
There are seventeen local government areas (LGAs). Each local government is headed by a democratically-elected Chairman working with an elected council. The State Government is led by a democratically-elected executive Governor who is working closely with an elected State House Assembly. The capital city is Umuahia. The major urban areas include Aba (a major commercial centre in southeastern Nigeria), Umuahia, Arochukwu, Abiriba, Nbawsi, Ohafia, Omoba, Ovim, Akwete, Obehie, Mgboko, Isuochi, and Osisioma.

1. Roads: International contractors are needed for road construction to enhance business and commerce. Abia is accessible. The international cities of Port Harcourt in Rivers State and Enugu are almost 90 minutes from Umuahia.

The present administration under the leadership of the popularly elected Governor, Orji Uzor Kalu seeks international businesses to modernize some of the roads and highways in the urban centres in order to ease travel, enhance commerce and urban development.

ii. Electricity: Abia State like other states in the Federation depends mainly on the Nigerian Electric Power Authority (NEPA) for its electricity supply. Abia State Government will gladly welcome investment in the area of energy generation and distribution.

iii. Water: Most of the urban centres of the State have reliable water schemes which meet the potable water needs of the citizens. In the rural areas, government is investing in small scale, sustainable provision of potable water projects.

Investment Areas

Abia State seeks international investors within the context of its considerable number of existing major industries. Abia has room for sustained industrial development. Currently, many of the industries are located in the major commercial town of Aba. In Aba, Unilever Group has its subsidiary Company (Lever Brothers) which like International Equitable of Colgate/Palmolive fame produces detergents, toilet soaps, toothpaste, etc. The Nigerian Breweries Ltd has a major brewery that produces both soft drinks and alcoholic beverages for the entire southern States of Nigeria. International Glass and Textile Mills are also in Aba. In Umuahia, Modern Ceramics Industry and the Golden-Guinea Breweries (makers of Bergedorf Beer) are major industries that employ labor. However, the Ceramic Industry has modernized its operations. In Agriculture, the Oil Palm Company (Abia Palm Oil Company Ltd.), the Ogwe Modern Poultry Farms and the Cashew Complex support our agro-allied efforts in industrialization. The government of Abia State, as a matter of deliberate policy, is poised to offer investment incentives and also create new centres for industrial activities which will be environmentally friendly.

III. Water Resources Development:
The major rivers in Abia State include Imo, Igwu, Azumini, and Aba. These subsequently flow into the Atlantic Ocean and open up substantial avenues for water resources and development. Potentials for hydro-electric development, irrigation for riverine travel abound. Currently, fishing is the main occupation of the indigenes who live along these river banks. Large scale fishing with enhanced technology will create more jobs for the populace and generate wealth for the government and the people. The Azumini Blue River supplies the glass sand raw material (90%) for the giant glass industry in Aba.

IV. Agricultural Resources Development:
Abia State is mainly an agricultural state. The state lies, mainly, in the rain forest belt and has forest woods of economic value in all three agro-ecological zones. Plantation agriculture is a very viable venture especially in respect of the development of the oil-palm industry. There hundreds of other resources abound in Abia.

For example, forests and woods in the State can also be exploited for industrial uses such as pulp for paper and cardboard production. Besides oil palm, cashew, rubber, and cocoa are grown widely in the state. Derivative industries in these and in ginger, coconut, citrus, and raffia palm are all potentials for investment in agriculture. Food crop production emphasizes the arroid crops of cassava, yam, and cocoyam.

The unified agricultural extension system (UAES) based on the World Bank supported T & V is practiced nation wide. Livestock and Fisheries complement the role of crop production. Agriculture and inland fisheries development is about to receive strong FAO support which will benefit fish farmers and the industry in Abia.

Non-governmental organizations in Europe are soon to collaborate with the Agriculture Ministry in developing small farmers capacity for fish production. Agriculture is one viable area for international investment with local participation.

V. Mineral Resources Development:
In Southern parts of Abia, oil and gas predominate. The petroleum resources of Nigeria, in general, and Abia State, in particular, are exploited by the multinationals like Shell, Agip, etc. Abia State and international investors should benefit from very constructive and vigorous industrialization thrust with active collaboration with local and foreign investors in the mineral sector.

Contacts for further inquiries:
•Orji Uzor Kalu, Executive Governor, Government House, Umuahia, Abia State • 088-221-995
•Onyekwere Ogba, Commissioner for Finance & Economic Development 088-221-169
•Dr. Emelike
Okoro, Agricultural Development Program 088-222-295
•Attorney Nnaemeka
Odunze 713-334-8080 (Houston, Texas, U.S.A)

Special Brochure prints of this ABIA INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS PROFILE will be mailed to actively interested investors and business persons. A Special Production by USAfrica International, Houston. 713-270-5500