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Davos 2015 – The New Context for Nigeria

World Economic Forum 2015

Today, the world’s attention turns to the 45th World Economic forum. Traditionally World leaders, Policy makers, Opinion leaders, representatives from Academia, Science, Business, Society and the World’s media converge at Davos-Klosters, Switzerland for four days.

This year’s theme is “The New Global Context”. This context plays out in the 10 global challenges pinpointed as affecting the world today:

World Economic Forum 2015

Given the current climate in Nigeria, the forum can be seen as a welcome distraction from today’s heated politics or out of touch with the new realities that face Nigeria. Why should we pay attention? To some, the forum is about the confluence of participants (Usually in the thousands) involved in over 280 discussion sessions on an array of issues. For Nigeria the themes discussed must take precedence in our minds. At this critical inflection point the themes discussed at WEF 2015 take on a new level of importance.

NCCN & Nigeria at Davos

Over the next few days the NCCN will track and provide commentary on the 2015 World Economic forum. NCCN Vice Chair Tony Elumelu and Alhaji Aliko Dangote (Chairperson of the NCCN Tax Trade and Business Enablement Working group) will Co-host the “Unlocking Global Institutional Capital for Africa” Event at Davos Thursday, January 22.

Be sure to follow @NCCNigeria & @TonyOElumelu on Twitter for real-time updates during the Forum, and please use the hashtag #AfricaAtDavos for a behind the scenes look at the African agenda at Davos.

This years theme and discussion points have been streamed along 4 Themes:

  • Crisis & Cooperation.
  • Growth & Stability.
  • Innovation & Industry.
  • Society & Security.
  • Crisis & Cooperation

    The world is currently facing so much in terms of geopolitical risks with major conflicts in Ukraine, the Middle East and other parts of the world. The extremist insurgency group Boko Haram, is responsible for countless atrocities against Nigerian citizens and has posed a security challenge for the country in the past five years. We hope that this year’s forum will provide a platform for the international community to identify ways to help bring about lasting solutions to the insurgents’ activity.

    This year’s forum will also focus on the need for international cooperation in matters of global health. The Ebola outbreak demonstrates the importance of combating the spread of viruses. Nigeria’s success in containing the Ebola outbreak shows that the country is well positioned to contribute in strengthening coordination structures and mechanisms needed to provide timely technical support for key health priorities.

    Growth & Stability

    Dwindling oil prices have created a new reality. Every economy faces a different dynamic. The structure of a country’s economy and the nature of governance in that country will determine their preparedness for what lies ahead. The Nigerian Economy is facing a new mediocre reality. While the contribution of oil to Nigeria’s GDP has fallen, oil revenue still accounts for a large fraction of the country’s foreign exchange earnings. This leaves the country particularly exposed.

    In Nigeria, the last quarter of 2014 saw significant capital flight from the Nigerian Stock Exchange. At this time, there should be an increased emphasis on interventions to improve the competitiveness of Nigeria’s business environment and attractiveness for foreign direct investment.

    History has shown that market based growth is more sustainable than dependence on revenue from primary resource export with Government central to resources/revenue distribution. The current climate, with plummeting oil prices only propagates this further . At the NCCN we strongly believe the private sector can drive improvements in Nigeria’s competitiveness.

    Innovation & Industry

    Technology is expanding to virtually all aspects of the economy. 2015 will see a rise in context-rich systems, smart machines and cloud architecture. In Nigeria’s context, we must question where the country is heading in the race for technological advancements.

    Nigeria’s technological capacity must be driven by improvements in its innovations system. However, at this stage in development and in view of Vision 2020, it is of greater importance for citizens to access existing technologies and adapt to local context.

    The Federal Ministry of Communications Technology, under the guidance of Honourable Minister Omobola Johnson (Chairperson of NCCN’s Human Capital and Innovation Capacity Building Working group),  has made key strides in the area of Communication technology. The current climate provides an investment opportunity. Will WEF 2015 provide a  springboard for addressing the technological gap between Africa and advanced economies. Will Nigeria attract the needed investments?

    Society & Security

    Despite Nigeria’s continuing economic growth, inequality has continued to rise – Growth in Nigeria has been largely constrained to a small percentage of the population. In a statement by the Coordinating Minister for the Economy HM Okonjo Iweala, “it is clear that the top 10 percent of the population is capturing most of the growth there is and the people at the bottom are being left behind.” This problem could pose serious challenges on the economy if not curtailed. At the NCCN, we firmly believe that the private sector working in conjunction with policy makers creating policies grounded in the concept of Competitiveness is the best way to create collective prosperity.

    WEF 2015 seeks to address these issues surrounding income inequality and wealth distribution. We strongly believe that this theme has taken on added importance in the face for dwindling government revenue. We need to think around new ways to create collective prosperity.