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How Nigeria can disrupt trade in Africa [II]

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disrupt trade in africa by Victor
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Indicators that Nigeria will disrupt trade in Africa

1. MSME Support Services and communities: 

MSME Support Service Providers like Traders of Africa (TOFA) – B2B Market Place for goods produced or manufactured in Africa, STARTUP AGENDA- where SME Owners can look to for paid SME Growth Support Services, Mentorship, hand holding, Investor Match Making and other interesting services while taking advantage of FREE business tips, strategy, nuggets shared on the Platform daily., Made in Nigeria International Trade   Exhibition (Minite) –  which   connects   manufacturers, distributors and investors to align their strength and work as a team to achieve common goals by promoting and showcasing made in Nigeria products across African countries and globally to the world for recognition and expansion.

This is open opportunities for producers and manufacturers within the economies of Africa to look beyond local consumption in their production capacity as the strategy is to move from one city to another to exhibit made in Africa products and create a global market for manufacturers by opening markets for them which in return will help grow Nigerian products extensively within African markets.

There is also The GRIND TV Series- which connects SMEs in the S/South Region (Niger Delta) to Investors, business training, Mentorship, business support services, Business Development and socio economic growth services;

Our GROOVV- is where underserved women are taught to trade stocks, MSME BDS- where SMEs can obtain end to end Business Development, Registration, Investment & business growth support services, Future Africa – is a fund that connects investors to mission-driven startups turning Africa’s most difficult challenges  into  global  business  opportunities;  pointing  Investors  to  smart Investments with high yield ROI, Invest in Startups and facilitate Syndicate Funds+DEAL ROOMs.

A typical example is $7M USD Funding of SMILE IDENTITY to improve services and expand across African markets.

These SME Support services essentially provide linkages for SME Owners, Startups and their Founders to obtain information about crafting winning business  Pitch  for  Funding,  Investor  matching,  strong  business  Plan  writing, developing superior products (through Design thinking) which are customer centric, developing valid use and business case for products and services, access to new markets, business penetration and marketing strategy which ultimately enables mass production, trade, commerce, business scale within Nigeria and out into markets across Africa.

Addition to critical infrastructure that link trade and commerce: There has been massive Infrastructure improvement projects ongoing in Nigeria with strategic private partnerships between The Federal Government of Nigeria- FGN, State Governments, Corporate Organizations and Private Companies to ensure they are executed fully.

In 2019, President Muhammadu Buhari signed Executive Order No. 007 on Road Infrastructure Development and Refurbishment Investment Tax Credit Scheme.

The Scheme is for a period of 10 years from its commencement date and it is a public-private partnership (PPP) intervention that would enable the government to leverage private sector capital and efficiency for the construction, repair, and maintenance of critical road infrastructure in key economic areas in Nigeria.

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Mr. President approved 19 eligible roads projects, totaling 794.40km in the pilot phase of the scheme in 11 states across the six geo-political zones and recently, 14 new roads were approved to be constructed by companies under the Road Infrastructure Tax Credit Scheme, (RITCS) program, which increase the roads from 19 to 33 with a length of 769.16km to 1,564.95km.

Since January 2021, the RITCS program has attracted over N78 bn NGN of private sector capital investments in critical road and bridge infrastructure and has created 1,379 direct and 2977 indirect jobs.

The details of the corporate sponsors, project names and locations and the length of the 14 additional roads project as approved by President Buhari are as follows: Dangote Industries Limited to construct the deep seaport access road through Epe to Sagamu-Benin Expressway; construction of Kaaba -Ekiti Boundary Road in Kogi/Ekiti States; re-construction of Ohalia Arochukwu road in Abia/Akwa Ibom States; and re- construction of Enugu -Onitsha Expressway Road, Enugu/Anambra States. All these total 271.72km.

BUA Group to construct Bode Saadu road and bridges; Kosubosu in Kwara State; Lafiagi road and bridge, bachita Kwara State; Eyenkorin road and bridge, Offa in Kwara/Osun States, and Bukuro Road and Bridges, Okuta in Kwara linking to Benin Republic/Osun States. All these total 294km.

Access Bank Plc to construct Oniru axis road of Victoria-Island Lekki traffic circulation (5km) GZ Industries Ltd for re-construction of Umueme Village Road, Obingwa Local Government Area of Abia State (3.7km).

Mainstream Energy Solutions Limited. to construct the Malando- Garin Baka Baka-Ngaskl-Wara road, in Niger/Kebbi State; Sabon Gari Yuni- Shagwa-Auna Road in Niger State (45.42km); and rehabilitation of Mokwa- Nasarawa Road in Niger State. All these total 207.87km.

Transcorp Plc to construct Oyigbo-Izuoma-Mirinwayi-Oklama- Afam Road in Oyigbo Local Government Area of Rivers State (13.5km); MTN Nigeria Telecommunications Ltd to construct the Enugu-Onitsha Expressway Road (110km).

This is a welcome development and if the RITCS program is properly implemented that would improve Nigeria’s road infrastructure, create jobs, boost economic activities and allow the government to utilize public funds on other sectors of the economy apart from roads.

These have become trade and commerce enablers across the states in Nigeria and will see a saturation of mass production of goods and services; which in time will find their way out of Nigeria into other markets across Africa and other continents by extension due to the superior standard and competitive market quality of the products.

Under Executive Order 7, FG & NLNG co-sponsor Bodo – Bonny Island Road and Bridges Project connecting Bonny Island to Rivers Mainland by road for the first time in history.

Flagged off by PYO on October 12th 2017 for 39 Km Roads, 2 Mini Bridges, 2 Creek Bridges, 1 Major River Bridge, 4 other mini bridges in all across swampy terrains.

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Total project cost stands at approximately NGN 200bn with Completion date at 2022. There is also Ogoni – Andoni – Opobo Unity Road commissioned by Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State commissioned after 150 Years.

Other examples of critical infrastructure projects that will enhance trade and commerce connection include The African Development Bank (AfDB) has said the 430 million dollars highway project linking Enugu to Bamenda in Cameroon will be completed this year.

The bank said it was part of its investments in West Africa which currently stood at USD $16 billion Dollars.

The President of AfDB, Dr Akinwunmi Adesina, disclosed this in a speech at the 59th Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government in Ghana; saying the USD $430 million Dollars highway project will transform trade opportunities between the two countries.

He further disclosed that the bank was working assiduously with the ECOWAS Commission to finalize feasibility studies for the Abidjan-Lagos corridor by the end of 2021. “We expect construction for the corridor to commence within 24 months,’’ Adesina said.

Infrastructure connects households across metropolitan areas to higher quality opportunities for employment, healthcare and education, this is what the Nigerian government want to achieve with its various initiatives, like Nigeria Sovereign Investment  Authority-NSIA  charged  with  the  responsibilities  of  managing  its Presidential Infrastructure Development Funds (PIDF) channeled $1.7 billion USD Presidential Infrastructure Development funds into the execution of ongoing Lagos to Ibadan road, the 2nd Niger bridge, the Abuja to Kano road and the Mambila hydropowerprojects.

The first phase of the 2nd Niger Bridge and the Lagos to Ibadan expressway, will be completed in July, 2022, while the Abuja to Kano road should be completed, later this year.

These roads have nationwide importance and these projects will be commercial, profitable over time because, they are economic assets.

The NSIA will be bringing in other commercial capital contributors including Pension funds to maintain these projects.

Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority also handled the Presidential Fertilizer initiatives, the agency revived the domestic fertilizer production, raising the number of blending plants in Nigeria from the initialfourin2016tocurrently47acrossthecountry.

This crashed prices of Fertilizer from N13, 000 in 2016, to an average cost of about N7, 000. Through the domestic initiatives, the government has created employment opportunities for Nigerians.

NSIA plans to invest $200m USD in building world class hospitals and 20 health projects, to tackle issues relating to cancer, radiology and diagnostics nationwide to support  Nigeria’s  comatose  health  sector.

The  NSIA  project considerations are driven by four major parameters, including nationwide importance, ability to attract local and international capital, projects with strong commercial and social returns and conducive legal environment for such investments, this is an opportunity for local investors to work with Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority to create employment opportunities for Nigerians.

2. MSME Award Platforms:

In Nigeria there are existing Award Platforms like NATIONAL MSME Awards, Nigeria SME National Business Awards, organized by the Federal Government of Nigeria- FGN to engage MSME Owners, stimulate local conversations, and facilitate networking for business handshakes, participation of Nigerians in MSME stakeholder gathering of state actors like SMEDAN, NEPC which is organized annually to bring together Indigenous MSME business owners and producers across all sectors and industries within Nigeria for recognition and reward for innovation, resilience, hard work, grit.

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These platforms give these MSME owners an avenue to exchange business cards with relevant agency Heads, build collaborative relationships, exchange ideas, and enter supplementary service partnerships for business expansion.

These Awards have enabled enterprising MSME Owners like Footwear Academy; emerge as Winners in Award Category like “Best Footwear Company” in return for Cash Award and Brand New Car Gift.

Many other entrepreneurs like Adejoke Lasisi of Planet 3R have also benefitted from the largesse by The Federal Government of Nigeria- FGN to support MSMEs whose innovative products and services contribute in solving key UN Sustainable Goals- No Poverty, Zero Hunger, Good Health & General Wellbeing, Decent Work and Economic Growth, Industry Innovation and Infrastructure, Quality Education amongst other problems in Nigeria to improve welfare and quality of life of Nigerians by tackling hunger.

These Awards have become Motivators to other MSME Owners to continuously research with a view to identify creative methods to innovate their ideas, products and services to improve their craft in order to supply to market; superior customer centric products that can measure up to the standards permitted by MSME Awards Product Review Committee for Acceptance into the MSME Award Pool.

The ripple effects of the Initiative aside production of International standard products that are right market fit, acceptable to compete effectively across borders and regions globally. Initiatives like this, has proven to be Stimulants to boost MSME Owners hunger to press for growth, mass production and new market penetration.

The ripple effect being market saturation and product penetration into new markets across Africa aside Nigeria.

…. To be continued…

About the Author:

Victor Uche Obioma

Victor Uche Obioma is Chairman, Victfaus Integrated Solutions Limited (a division of Views Group Co.). He is International Partner for Nigeria – World Business Angels Investment Forum (WBAF); and Member, Global Start Ups committee.

He is Member, Global Chamber of Business Leaders-GCBL; Global Entrepreneurs Network (GEN) Startup Founders Mentor at Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF), TAKWEEN Accelerator- his Mentee placed 03rd to WIN $15K USD Seed Fund. He is Advisor at Prosper Advisors Network, Kenya; Ambassador for Western Africa at Global Startup Awards- GSA. He is Founder of STARTUP AGENDA, Judge at 2021 Africa’s Business Heroes- Jack Ma Foundation & Draft/Research Committee team Member of The Nigeria Startup Bill.

You can find out more about him here

@TechEconomyNG connects past-present-emerging technological impacts on Businesses, People and Cities. All Correspondence to: [email protected]

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