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Published On: Thu, Nov 13th, 2014

Enterpreneur boss thumbs up Nigeria’s business competitiveness

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From Ayodele Samuel, Lagos

The Founder, CWG Plc and Entrepreneur in Residence at Columbia Business School, thumbed up Nigeria’s business competitiveness at the global level.

Addressing a group of graduate students in the Private Equity and Entrepreneurship in Africa Course with Professor Murray Low of the Eugene Lang Entrepreneurship Centre, Okere highlighted Nigeria as one of the top three investor destinations in Africa.

Quoting figures from the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), Okere reiterated that of the $57b FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) that Africa attracted last year, Nigeria saw the lion share of about $5.6b, which is very significant given that only six other countries attracted investments above $3b.

This is coming on the heels of Nigeria moving up five places in the latest release of the World Bank Doing Business Report. This is well above the average improvement of two positions by the MINT countries comprising Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria and Turkey.

More importantly, the “Starting a Business” and “Getting Credit” pillars saw the most significant changes, moving up nine and 73 places respectively, indicating better engagement with the Small and Medium Enterprises, SME sector, which tends to be the engine of growth in most developing economies.

Okere reiterated his view expressed at the World Economic Forum Meeting of the Global Champions in Tianjin, China, that the new frontiers for business expansion following saturation in the developed markets were Africa and Latin America.

He however cautioned against wholesale importation of western business model templates into these emerging markets given the different geographies, peoples and cultures.

He counselled local partnerships to explore the immense opportunities in a mutually beneficial manner.

According to Okere, significant milestones have been achieved in important areas such as pervasive broadband access, making it possible to pursue hitherto impossible business models in Cloud Computing and eCommerce.

He also enumerated the giant strides in Power Sector reforms, Agriculture and SME support and financial inclusion through the Central bank’s Cashless Initiative, leading to improved financial

transparency; and the adoption of the IFRS Accounting standard leading to greater corporate governance standards.

He said the recent admission of the Nigerian Stock Exchange into the World Federation of Exchanges is testimony to the huge success of the Capital Market reforms, and serves as a positive barometer for investors’ appetite’.

Okere said “being a member of the World Economic Forum’s Business Council and a board member of the National Competitiveness Council of Nigeria, it is not lost on me that there is still a lot to be done for Nigeria to achieve her full potential, as has been highlighted by the recent WEF Competiveness Index report. I however, believe that it is not far-fetched for Nigeria to aspire to become one of the 20 largest global economies by 2020 starting from a comfortable base of being the largest economy in Africa and the 26th largest global economy”. To achieve this however, he advocates the acceleration of investments in critical infrastructure and also getting the Local Governments to step up in their responsibility towards the provision of Primary

Health Care and Primary Education.

Columbia University’s Entrepreneur in Residence Program brings together selected individuals of exceptional talent and a history of accomplishment to assist tomorrow’s business leaders by providing valuable insights garnered from their extensive experience.


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