The 25th edition of the Nigerian Economic Summit (NES#25) will focus on the pillars of the country’s 4th Industrial Revolution, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, said on Monday.
Mrs Ahmed was addressing journalists in her office in Abuja on preparations towards the summit scheduled for next October 7 and 8 on the theme: “Nigeria 2050: Shifting Gears.”
She described the coming summit as unique as it will mark a historic milestone of 25 years of continued engagement between the public and private sectors on the Nigerian economy.
Reviewing last year’s summit held under the theme “Poverty to Prosperity: Making Governance & Institutions Work”, the minister said its recommendations helped in addressing issues of good governance as a path to sustainable human and economic development.
“It provided a timely opportunity for a national economic review and created a consensus amongst all Nigerians on the need to ensure that Nigerians take advantage of the opportunities that exist to increase productivity and create jobs,” she said.
She said this year’s theme will emphasise the imperatives for the country’s move to a more robust competitive private sector economy.
Also, participants will discuss the implications of about 65 per cent of the country’s projected population of over 400 million by 2050 under the age of 35.
Considering that this figure will put enormous pressure on the country’s educational institutions, structures, resources and manpower, the minister said only a competitive private sector-led economy will bring economic prosperity to Nigerians.
A competitive economy, Mrs Ahmed said must have stable macroeconomic conditions and a business climate that keeps transaction costs low and encourage savings, investment and job creation.
Consequently, she said the various plenary, breakout sessions and roundtable discussions during this year’s summit will feature startup pitching events designed to connect startups registered in Nigeria.
While priority will be given to those already doing business for no more than three to five years and seeking to raise needed funds, the minister said selection will be based on innovativeness, market size and diversity.
She said the overarching objective will be to provide a veritable platform for creating and expanding business opportunities in Nigeria.
To achieve this objective, the minister said the country needs a modern and well-regulated financial sector that turns savings into productive investments, and ability to advance in research, development and technology.
Also, the country needs huge investment in hard and soft infrastructure as well as sustained encouragement of entrepreneurship and innovation, economic activity in manufacturing, services, agriculture and natural resources to plug into global value chains.
Other pillars of a competitive economy include the introduction of legislation and policies to provide a sustainable foundation for the continuous development of human resources, science and technology, research and development, innovation and infrastructure
“This year’s Summit would be setting a new agenda for Nigeria to key into the 4th Industrial Revolution as the Summit Sub-themes will focus on achieving rapid industrialization; transforming education and managing demography,” the minister said.
Besides, she said discussions on the sub-themes will centre on six critical sectors of the economy, namely agriculture, manufacturing, ICT, financial services, creative industry and the extractive Industry.
Also, 12 accelerators and indicators have been identified for discussion as central to the growth of competitive industries and meeting the sustainable development goals to ensure a prosperous future.
The Summit will also seek to underscore the critical enablers of the private sector-led economy the country needs; develop and deploy human capital to achieve higher productivity, and discuss policy framework required to guarantee a globally competitive and inclusive economy, Mrs Ahmed said.