The Nigerian-American Chamber of Commerce (NACC) has emphasized that micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) are crucial for economic growth and development of the country. President of NACC, Chief Olabintan Famutimi, stated this at the 2nd Edition of the African Food and Products Exhibition and Conference organised by the Chamber, themed: “Non-Oil Exports’ Scaling up Productivity to Meet Global Demand”.
He said the impact of SMEs is systemic and all-encompassing – from the integration of essential goods and services like apparel and fashion, beauty and wellness, foods and beverages, art and crafts to the promotion and establishment of non-oil exports. “In light of this, we must do two things: we must scale up our productivity and we must make our response even more relevant in the global space. Stronger cooperation and coordination within the sectors, tailored towards the realities of each context and mindful of each component’s mandate, competences and skills, will allow us to do so.
This is what the Nigerian-American Chamber of Commerce is aggressively promoting even with this exhibition and conference,” he stated. Famutimi said the chamber will continue to loudly remind all stakeholders of the need to promote and preserve MSMEs and to apply international best practices and other relevant frameworks, such as access to market, access to business funding, export value chain process, and the full implementation of the African Growth Opportunity Act (AGOA). In his remark, Managing Director, Bank of Industry (BoI), Mr. Olukayode Pitan, said agriculture should not be treated as just a social sector intervention for managing poverty but more as a business for creating wealth and empowering citizens.
He noted that before the discovery of petroleum in commercial quantities, Nigeria’s agricultural sector was a major source of revenue and employment, adding that at its peak, it contributed close to 65 per cent of national GDP. Pitan who was represented by Executive Director, SME, Mr. Waheed Olagunju, stated: “We are not strangers to the potentials of agriculture and the benefits it presents for the Nigerian economy. In fact, this is why agriculture is one of six sectors identified for growth in the Economic Recovery & Growth Plan (ERGP). For us as a nation, agriculture should not be treated as just a social sector intervention for managing poverty but more as a business for creating wealth and empowering citizens.
It is the kind of business that can help many African nations, including Nigeria, diversify revenue, reduce import dependency, create jobs and develop rural areas. “According to the World Bank, Africa’s agriculture and agribusiness trade are projected to reach $1 trillion by 2030 as compared to the current market size of just under $350 billion. This three-fold increase would translate to more jobs, greater prosperity, less hunger and significantly more global trade for African farmers.”