New technologies can boost Nigeria’s economic growth
Investing in new technologies and e-platforms will enhance Nigeria’s economy and enable small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to improve their bottom line. The Executive Director of the International Trade Centre (ITC), Arancha González, made this point in her address to Nigeria’s Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Olusegun Aganga, and stakeholders in the country’s trade sector in Abuja on 7 May 2014.
The Executive Director said the use of new technologies in the agricultural sector can improve production processes from farm to market.
‘The physical gap between buyers and sellers is increasingly being narrowed by the use of mobile technologies which allow small farmers and SMEs to be price makers rather than just price takers,’ said Ms. González. ‘The explosion of e-banking in Nigeria is impressive and reflects the modernisation of the financial sector which has been constantly expanding at almost twice the GDP growth. With more money to the farmers and SMEs through better market information and intelligence, this leads to greater awareness on financial management.’
Ms. González underscored the importance of supporting the private sector, particularly SMEs, to become incubators of growth, innovation and poverty reduction. She stated that SMEs which make up the vast majority of businesses in Nigeria and Africa as a whole require tools to help increase their competitiveness and to internationalise. She noted the vital pillars for sustainable economic growth in Nigeria which rest on its infrastructure such as electricity, connectivity, finance, technology and trade These factors are critical for foreign investors and SMEs which aim to internationalise.
The Executive Director said Nigeria’s goal of realising the World Trade Organization (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreement signals a clear commitment to make the cost and act of trading easier and less costly. She added that the Agreement serves as an important tool in cutting corruption at the border, standardising the costs applied to goods at the border, and locking in Nigeria and its neighbours to a common way of treating traded goods and services. Ms. González offered ITC’s services to operationalise the WTO Agreement to achieve maximum benefit.