3 African start-ups valued at $1bn founded by young Nigerians—NESG

Mr Asue Ighodalo, Chairman of the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG), has said that three out of four digital start-ups, valued in excess of one billion dollars, were founded by young Nigerian entrepreneurs.

Mr Asue Ighodalo, Chairman of the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG). [businessday]

Ighodalo said this in his opening remarks at the 27th Nigerian Economic Summit on Monday in Abuja.

The NESG chairman said Nigerian technology entrepreneurs were able to leverage the digital transformation to succeed and attract local and foreign investments.

“As I stand before you today, three out of Africa’s four startup unicorns, valued in excess of $1billion, were founded by young Nigerian entrepreneurs.

“We celebrate the achievements of Interswitch, Flutterwave and Jumia. We can create and enable many more unicorns.

“I am convinced that our path to greatness lies within our people, but we must inspire and support ourselves to believe in our country and trust our leaders, who must, by their acts, earn our trust.”

He stressed that at the 2019 NES #25, young people reminded the summit of the issues that were of central priority of policy and governance.

Ighodalo also recalled that the NES #26 in 2020 proposed several recommendations that were organised around ensuring a resilient economic recovery; strengthening partnerships; and unlocking sub-national competitiveness.

He added that meeting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030 and empowering the Nigerian youth also formed part of the recommendations.

The NESG chair further said that the NES #26 Report had been presented to the Federal Executive Council and National Economic Council.

“We eagerly still look forward to the implementation of its key recommendations,” Ighodalo said, adding that the 27th Nigerian Economic Summit would build on the successes of past summits with the theme “Securing Our Future: The Fierce Urgency of Now”.

The chairman called on the president to give more attention to young people, out-of-school children, more job opportunities, security and economic diversification as the focus of his eight-year-term legacy.

He further urged state governments to reduce poverty, open up the rural sectors, provide extension services to farmers, storage facilities and routes to markets, while improving the quality of education for children in their states, healthcare facilities, enhancing Internally Generated Revenue and doing more to attract investments to their states.

Furthermore, he called on the private sector to support the Muhammadu Buhari-led administration to deliver improved quality of life for the people.

“The only viable plan that can deliver improved quality of life for our people is the commitment of leaders, across board, to now urgently execute visionary, broad-based policies and programmes to create a great, safe, comfortable, productive, efficient and developed Nigeria.

“As we look forward to the launch and implementation of the Medium-Term National Development Plan (2021–2025), Nigerians expect that it will signal a strong commitment to advancing the key imperatives for national development,” he stressed.

The NESG boss also urged all stakeholders to be open to new ideas and innovations that could transform the economy, saying, ”we must act boldly and with courage, in the best interest of all Nigerians.”

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