Image Source: AfricanLiberty.Org
By Adedoyin Jaiyesimi
When I received the invitation to be part of the social media and content team for the 2016 Nigerian Economic Summit (NES22), I was quite excited. Work for a client earlier this year required me to carry out research about the Summit and I was intrigued by the level of discourse and recommendations in their reports. To witness it live was a great privilege for me.
The theme for NES22 was Made In Nigeria. This was quite a timely theme. With the volatile state of the economy, it is evident that we need to look inward for solutions to take the country out of the recession. NESS22 gathered government officials and stakeholders across different industries to discuss these solutions and the steps that urgently need to be taken by the government.
Here are five key takeaways from the 3-day Summit that every entrepreneur needs to take note of:
- It’s a collective exercise. So far, the attitude of a lot of Nigerians has been that it is government’s sole responsibility to get us out of the recession. While the government has a key role to play, we the citizens also have our own role to play. We need to start supporting local businesses and basically ‘Buy Nigerian’. We also need to encourage entrepreneurs who are making outstanding made in Nigeria products.
- There is the need for innovative thinking. There is a need for us to broaden our scope about what Made In Nigeria really involves. While there were suggestions about the sectors that need to be harnessed, the discourse has been limited to agriculture and fashion for the most part. There is more to Made in Nigeria than agriculture. Let’s begin to think about how to create other products locally and also improve on the use of technology. Why can’t we have phones made and assembled in Nigeria?
- We do not need another ‘oil’. Just like I mentioned in the previous point, our focus should not be on a single industry alone. We shouldn’t turn agriculture into the next oil. While we advice individuals to have multiple streams of income, our economy also needs multiple streams of income from various industries. There is great potential in many of our industries. Mining is an example. As entrepreneurs, I believe it’s time for us to begin to consider how we can take advantage of opportunities within the different sectors of the economy.
- Our government needs to be held accountable. Some of the government officials present at the Summit were able to give concrete examples of what they are doing to make the business environment easy for Nigerians. Quite a number, on the other hand, talked about what they were ‘planning to do’ or ‘thinking of doing’. We need definite action from government to create an enabling environment where the Made In Nigeria agenda will thrive.
- We must educate ourselves. Throughout the Summit, I saw how being ignorant about certain things had cost us quite a lot in this country. We need to be properly educated. We need to be informed. This isn’t just about going to school and getting a degree. It is about getting information; about trends in your industry, government policies, technological advancement and so on. We must be committed to improving ourselves and getting better.
We cannot afford to do business as usual in our country. There needs to be a mindset and behavioural shift from all of us. The culture of mediocrity has to change. For our economy to be globally competitive, our products and services need to be at par with international standards. We need to stop cutting corners and have a culture of excellence.
The journey ahead is definitely a long one but I believe if we, the government and the citizens, are committed to turning around our economy, we can do it. Let’s not look to one industry as our ‘saviour’ out of the recession. Let’s revive and tap into the potential in other sectors of our economy.
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