SMBs can leverage technology to thrive – Experts

For Nigeria to become a major player in the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) initiative, and globally, the government needs to focus more on promoting the non-oil sector and create financing targeted for certain export-oriented sectors such as agriculture, manufacturing, creative arts and entertainment.
The chief executive of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Dr. Chinyere Almona, said this would help the country improve its competitiveness and increase Nigeria’s share in global and African trade, currently estimated at only 0.26% and 19%. hundred.
Speaking on the theme: “African Continental Free Trade Agreement: Issues Raised”, at the 2022 Annual Symposium of the Initiative for Alternative Dispute Resolution for Issuers and Investors (IIADRI) held recently in Lagos, Almona lamented the low contribution of Nigeria and Africa to global trade, despite the continent’s trade prospects.
However, she expressed hope that leveraging the AfCFTA initiative would enable Nigerian manufacturers to tap into the global market, increase industrialization and spur economic growth.
Represented by Deputy Director, Research and Advocacy, LCCI, Sunny Michael, she said UNCTAD’s global trade update showed that global trade in goods remained strong, while trade in services had returned to low levels. pre-COVID-19 levels in 2021.
She therefore insisted that Nigeria and other African countries must step up the game to play a more active role in global and regional value chains.
According to her, governments at all levels should support producers in the areas of capacity building and technical assistance to improve the quality of products for export, as well as ensure that the country’s products can easily access other markets.
“We need a regulatory environment conducive to exporting and manufacturing. The government should consider establishing agro-industrial parks strictly focused on the production of goods for export.
“Business strategies also matter; we must have a supply chain strategy and explore resources for our own benefit. It’s cheaper and more sustainable,” she said.
Also speaking at the event, the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Investment Promotion Council (NIPC), Emeka Offor, urged shareholders to ensure that operators of listed companies redefine their strategy to benefit from AfCFTA and stimulate their investments.
According to him, there is a need for Nigerian businesses, especially listed companies, to identify and address issues that would threaten the realization of the benefits of the AfCFTA in Nigeria before the initiative fully takes off.
He said information through intelligence gathering is very essential to keep traders ahead of trends to enable them to reposition appropriately and benefit from the program.
Offor said international trade has its own uncertainties and risks, and the more Nigerian traders understand the market, the more they benefit from unlimited demand and innovation throughout the supply chain.