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AfCFTA: Nigeria Partners UNDP To Boost Capacity Of SMEs

AfCFTA: Nigeria Partners UNDP To Boost Capacity Of SMEs

Review Overview

Summary : The federal government has strengthened its partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to boost the capacity of the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the country to take advantage of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA). This was the crux of a meeting with the theme “Exploring AfCFTA Opportunities For Small and Medium –sized Enterprises in Nigeria” which was organised by the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment and the UNDP in Abuja on Thursday. Permanent secretary of the Ministry of Industry Trade and Investment , Ambassador Nura Abba Rimi, while speaking at the event, lauded the transformative opportunities presented by the African trade agreement, adding that it will enhance the Nigerian economic landscape towards ushering in a new era of prosperity. “AfCFTA will trigger a production revolution that will create jobs, increase income and lift millions out of poverty by looking beyond our domestic market and tapping into the trillion dollar continental market. We can advance the Nigerian developmental agenda as outlined in the National Development Plan 2021 to 2025,” he said. The permanent secretary, who spoke through a representative, noted that Nigeria has established three categories of funding for the SMEs totaling N200 billion to support small scale businesses across the country. These include the Conditional Grant Scheme, SMEs Intervention Fund and Fund for the Manufacturing sector. He noted that the collaboration with the UNDP will add value to the Nigeria and African products and make them more competitive and open up access to larger markets. Speaking to reporters in an interview, the Resident Representative of the UNDP in Nigeria, Elsie Attafuah, said “the agreement is providing opportunities for us to be able to trade among ourselves as Africans to improve trade among countries in the continent which currently stands at about 16.6 per cent. “The agreement is about job creation, revenue creation; it is about prosperity of the African continent. SMEs are about 80% of the businesses and therefore by empowering the SMEs, we are actually creating opportunities for them to connect to other parts of the region, whether you are talking about Senegal, Ghana, and South or Egypt. She noted that SMEs can be boosted by trade facilitation and access to financing, to enable them “grow their businesses, brand their businesses, package their businesses but also make sure that we have criteria that are good enough. “I am very glad that Nigeria is providing the leadership and that demonstrates that this agreement can work and should work with the leadership of the Nigerian government. “The beauty about the AfCTA is that it is big enough and it is strategic enough to include all stakeholders. We have to bring not only the SMEs, we have to bring our export promotion boards, our customs, the regulatory authorities and we have to domesticate these things. “So, I think countries that have ratified the agreement including Nigeria, will need to domesticate that because in domesticating that it means we have to look at our policies, our regulations, our laws and make sure that it is in line with the instruments that have been signed.” Minister of youth Development Jamila Bio Ibrahim said the initiative was aimed to engage the youth to expand their potential through investment in their businesses in order to reduce unemployment and move the youth away from all forms of vices. She said “we are the custodians of the policy initiative and coordination of activities that affect 70% of our population. Our vision is to make sure that our youth are the catalyst of economic development in Nigeria and Africa. Youth unemployment is very high and young people are susceptible to various vices due to lack of meaningful opportunity” She however, noted that the AfCFTA will create the enabling environment for the youth to explore opportunities that will add value to them and lift them out of poverty. Others who attended the event included the Director General of the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN), Charles Odili; Director General , Women Chambers of Commerce , Industry Mines and Agriculture( WCCIMA), Weyinmi Eribo; Mohammed Awami, Head of Specialised Business Department , Nigerian Export-Import Bank among others. (LEADERSHIP)

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Review Overview

Summary : The federal government has strengthened its partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to boost the capacity of the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the country to take advantage of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA). This was the crux of a meeting with the theme “Exploring AfCFTA Opportunities For Small and Medium –sized Enterprises in Nigeria” which was organised by the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment and the UNDP in Abuja on Thursday. Permanent secretary of the Ministry of Industry Trade and Investment , Ambassador Nura Abba Rimi, while speaking at the event, lauded the transformative opportunities presented by the African trade agreement, adding that it will enhance the Nigerian economic landscape towards ushering in a new era of prosperity. “AfCFTA will trigger a production revolution that will create jobs, increase income and lift millions out of poverty by looking beyond our domestic market and tapping into the trillion dollar continental market. We can advance the Nigerian developmental agenda as outlined in the National Development Plan 2021 to 2025,” he said. The permanent secretary, who spoke through a representative, noted that Nigeria has established three categories of funding for the SMEs totaling N200 billion to support small scale businesses across the country. These include the Conditional Grant Scheme, SMEs Intervention Fund and Fund for the Manufacturing sector. He noted that the collaboration with the UNDP will add value to the Nigeria and African products and make them more competitive and open up access to larger markets. Speaking to reporters in an interview, the Resident Representative of the UNDP in Nigeria, Elsie Attafuah, said “the agreement is providing opportunities for us to be able to trade among ourselves as Africans to improve trade among countries in the continent which currently stands at about 16.6 per cent. “The agreement is about job creation, revenue creation; it is about prosperity of the African continent. SMEs are about 80% of the businesses and therefore by empowering the SMEs, we are actually creating opportunities for them to connect to other parts of the region, whether you are talking about Senegal, Ghana, and South or Egypt. She noted that SMEs can be boosted by trade facilitation and access to financing, to enable them “grow their businesses, brand their businesses, package their businesses but also make sure that we have criteria that are good enough. “I am very glad that Nigeria is providing the leadership and that demonstrates that this agreement can work and should work with the leadership of the Nigerian government. “The beauty about the AfCTA is that it is big enough and it is strategic enough to include all stakeholders. We have to bring not only the SMEs, we have to bring our export promotion boards, our customs, the regulatory authorities and we have to domesticate these things. “So, I think countries that have ratified the agreement including Nigeria, will need to domesticate that because in domesticating that it means we have to look at our policies, our regulations, our laws and make sure that it is in line with the instruments that have been signed.” Minister of youth Development Jamila Bio Ibrahim said the initiative was aimed to engage the youth to expand their potential through investment in their businesses in order to reduce unemployment and move the youth away from all forms of vices. She said “we are the custodians of the policy initiative and coordination of activities that affect 70% of our population. Our vision is to make sure that our youth are the catalyst of economic development in Nigeria and Africa. Youth unemployment is very high and young people are susceptible to various vices due to lack of meaningful opportunity” She however, noted that the AfCFTA will create the enabling environment for the youth to explore opportunities that will add value to them and lift them out of poverty. Others who attended the event included the Director General of the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN), Charles Odili; Director General , Women Chambers of Commerce , Industry Mines and Agriculture( WCCIMA), Weyinmi Eribo; Mohammed Awami, Head of Specialised Business Department , Nigerian Export-Import Bank among others. (LEADERSHIP)

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