Mr. Muda Yusuf, Director General of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce & Industry,
Distinguished guests from the Press and the media,
Ladies & Gentlemen,
Good morning to all,
It is a true pleasure to welcome you all here today at the Lagos Chamber of Commerce & Industry, which has kindly agreed to host this Press Conference in order to officially announce the launch of the research for The Report Nigeria 2020 and the reactivation of our strategic partnership with the LCCI.
As you are all aware, the Lagos Chamber of Commerce & Industry is a Lagos-based non-profit organisation that promotes legislation and other measures affecting trade, industry, commerce and agriculture.
Oxford Business Group operates in many of the world’s fastest growing markets, offering internationally acclaimed business intelligence on regions that are shaping the future balance of economic power.
One of Oxford Business Group’s core objectives is precisely to raise visibility and awareness concerning investment and business opportunities in a given country, through a wide range of detailed, comprehensive, independent and in-depth market analysis.
So we clearly have a common goal!
In a highly globalised economy, where countries are competing against each other to attract investment and business, the importance of having reliable and up-to-date economic data and information is crucial. Access to knowledge is power!
Last year we celebrated our 10th year anniversary in Nigeria.
And this year marks our eighth report on the market. As Africa’s largest economy, we are eager to put our research on the country out to our audience of businessmen and investors.
Some of you already know us very well, some others may not, so allow me to briefly explain what it is we do at Oxford Business Group.
Oxford Business Group is a 25 year old London-based global advisory and research firm, focusing on the world’s fastest growing and best performing economies.
Advisory, because on the back of our 25 years of on-the-ground research and experience, we have compiled significant economic data and information, allowing us to put together a wide range of market-entry products for companies that are looking to expand their operations. Thanks to our ability to tap easily and quickly into our well-established networks, we help our clients make informed decisions and take action accordingly.
Our research arm acts as a multi-platform business intelligence content provider, with our research terminal that features economic news and views, our global platform exclusive video interviews, the OBG Business Barometer – CEO Survey, Roundtables and Conferences that we organise throughout the world, and The Report publications, undoubtedly our flagship product since our creation back in 1994!
We are delighted to officially launch the research for The Report Nigeria 2020 in partnership with the LCCI, which will include exhaustive market analysis on sectors of the Nigerian economy ranging from Banking, Capital Markets, Insurance and Energy to Agriculture, Transport, ICT and Construction.
Our analysis, based on off-the-record informative discussions that we will conduct with key stakeholders across many sectors of the economy on top of our own research, will provide our audience with a clear understanding and overview about the economy’s current performance and future development perspectives, as well as the challenges that will need addressing.
Besides our Research Terminal and IPAD application, OBG has concluded a number of strategic distribution agreements with some of the world’s most influential and internationally recognised financial and trading online platforms. These include:
DowJones Factiva (1.2 million users),
the Bloomberg Terminal (325,000 users),
Refinitiv – formally Thomson Reuters (300,000 users),
Standard & Poors’ CapitalIQ market intelligence platform (15,000 users), LexisNexis (10,000 users)
and finally CNKI – China National Knowledge Infrastructure (20,000 users); Needless to say that we are extremely proud that each of them is making The Nigeria report available to all their users.
Thank you for your attention and I would be delighted to take questions from you at the end of the conference. As for now, allow me to introduce my colleague and Nigeria Editorial Manager, Mrs Yolanda Moreno, who will present you with further insights on the contents of our upcoming research.
Thank you all for your presence and attention.
It is highly appreciated and again we welcome this highly strategic partnership with the Lagos Chamber of Commerce & Industry.
Ladies and gentlemen, and in particular our friends from the media, hello and welcome!
My name is Yolanda Moreno and I am the Editorial Manager for Nigeria at Oxford Business Group.
I would like to thank each and every one of you for being here with us today for the launch of our upcoming research on Nigeria, and in particular, on behalf of Oxford Business Group, I would like to thank Mr Muda Yusuf, Director General of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce & Industry, and his team for hosting us today.
As my colleague Christophe just mentioned, Oxford Business Group has been present in Nigeria for over a decade now, and we are delighted to be here again to produce our 8th edition of The Report: Nigeria 2020.
Africa is at an important crossroads with the recent ratification of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area agreement, and out of all the countries, Nigeria is definitely for me one of the most exciting markets to be working on, both on a professional and personal level.
As its largest economy, the country boasts a number of key advantages for local and foreign investment. Perhaps one of its key assets is its sizeable domestic market – being Africa’s most populous country -, and its large youth population that can help drive productivity and promote economic transformation.
Other key advantages include the country’s abundant natural resouces, strategic positioning and ongoing investment in infrastructure which bode well for the future development of the country as an investment destination.
A number of important projects also bode well for the future prosperity of the Nigerian economy with the notable arrival of Microsoft’s $100 million African development center earlier this year and the anticipated launch of the Dangote refinery, which brings with it the promise of turning Nigeria from a fuel importer into a net exporter.
These comprise some of the main assets and developments that have helped restore growth and confidence of late.
Indeed, recent indicators come to support the idea that a long overdue recovery is finally underway. After a contraction of 1.6% in 2016, the economy grew by 0.8% in 2017and 1.9% in 2018.
The IMF expects the country’s GDP to grow by 2.1% in 2019 and 2.5% in 2020.
All this is not to say that everything is perfect, and a number of long-term challenges remain to be addressed.
Starting off with one of the most pressing issue is the country’s persistent fiscal deficit and the need to boost collection ratios, which currently stand at about 7% of GDP, making it one of the world’s lowest.
Reducing the size of the informal sector, which accounts for an important share of employment, is another key structural challenge to be tackled.
Nigeria will also need to address its debt burden, which has grown from around $65bn in 2015 to $81bn as of March 2019.
And last but not least, the collapse in commodity prices – and oil prices in particular – has come to demonstrate once again the pressing need to diversify beyond hydrocarbons. Diversification is crucial for the development of sustainable economic models.
To conclude, I would like to say that there is clearly work still to do here in Nigeria. But the country’s return to positive growth is certainly reassuring for both the domestic and international business community, in an economy where industry and manufacturing capacities have been expanded, and one where services – such as banking and telecoms – are rapidly developing. Political stability following the reelection of President Buhari in 2019 and his mandate to continue the fight against corruption are also positive signals for the business community.
While Nigeria has not been immune to the troubles which have plagued emerging markets in recent years – from low oil prices to a stronger US dollar and the US-China trade war -, the structural work that has gone on, places them in a far better position to face the challenges of global markets head on… And we at OBG continue to believe passionately that these so called emerging markets are the engines of future global growth.
Thank you all for your presence and your attention.