Saturday, July 4, 2020

My Companion: NIGERIA, A COUNTRY ON THE MOVE: UNPACKING THE OPP...

My Companion: NIGERIA, A COUNTRY ON THE MOVE: UNPACKING THE OPP...: Presentation by Rotarian Ndudi Osakwe (Market Entry Advisor)  to members and guests of the Rotary Club of Jerusalem, Israel ...

NIGERIA, A COUNTRY ON THE MOVE: UNPACKING THE OPPORTUNITIES



Presentation by Rotarian Ndudi Osakwe (Market Entry Advisor) 
to members and guests of the Rotary Club of Jerusalem, Israel


NIGERIA, A COUNTRY ON THE MOVE
UNPACKING THE OPPORTUNITIES

Opportunity is defined as a set of circumstances that make it possible to do something. Today marks the beginning of a new Rotary year, with the presidential theme  ‘Rotary Opens Opportunities’. The theme encourages Rotarians around the world to seize the many opportunities Rotary offers to enrich their lives and the communities in which they serve. According to Holger Knaack, president of Rotary International 2020-2021, everything we do opens another opportunity for someone somewhere, to live a richer, more meaningful life.

Opportunity has also been defined as a good chance for advancement or progress and can exist between countries for business, travel and friendship. Though COVID-19 pandemic shut down the world’s economy, crippled governments, businesses and restricted movements across the world, ironically, the pandemic offers the world a once-in-a- generation chance to remake society and build a better future. 

Courtesy: This Day Newspapers
A country that is on the driver’s seat when it comes to innovation for a better future is Israel.  It is referred to as the Start Up/Scale Up Nation. 
Israel has a thriving business community in Nigeria that pre-dates independence. 







Today we would examine the opportunities that Nigeria presents to the Israeli business community at this juncture of circumstances.

Let us have an overview about the country called Nigeria.



KEY FACTS

Location: Sub Saharan Africa
Borders: Benin Republic, Cameroon, Chad and Niger Republic.
Size: 923, 768 sq km
Land: 910, 768 sq km
Water: 13,000 sq km
Seasons: Rainy Season (April to October) Dry Season (November to March)
Population: 200 million (with 50% made up of 15-54 years old)
Major Tribes: Hausa, Igbo, Yoruba
States: 36
Local Government Areas: 774.
Major Cities: Lagos, Abuja, Kano, Enugu and Port Harcourt
Airports: Lagos, Kano, Abuja and Port Harcourt
Religion: Christianity, Islam and Traditional Religion
Democracy since 1999 (Fourth Republic).
American styled presidential system of government
Currency: Naira
Exchange Rate: N360/$1
Gross Domestic Product: $469.3 billion
Per Capita Income: $2400
Major Trading Partners: India, Spain, Netherlands, USA, France, United Kingdom.
Past Time: Soccer, Swimming, Tennis, Golf and Horse Riding, Cinema

Turn On
  • Largest economy in sub Saharan Africa
  • Huge domestic market, serve as the gateway to the ECOWAS region (15 countries)
  • Endowed with natural and human resources
  • Youthful population, educated and speak English Language


Turn Off
  • Weak Institutions: Health, Legal (dispensation of justice, patents, Licensing), Security
  • Unemployment: It breeds social, economic and security problems. According to the World Food Program, about 13m jobs would be lost in Nigeria due to the COVID-19.
  • Corruption: Misappropriation of funds, embezzlement, nepotism/favouritism etc
  • Food insecurity due to ethnic crises, ecological disasters (desertification, erosion etc)
  • Porous Borders


Opportunities

There is a thriving Israeli business community in Nigeria especially in the cities of Lagos, Abuja, Benin City etc. Some Israeli companies are already doing business in Nigeria, some of them before Nigerian indepedence. of the companies include RCC (Solel Boneh), Nairda, SCC, EMI (MultiLock), DatagroupIT (CheckPoint), Admiral and Megaplaza amongst others. They are involved in infrastructure, water resources development, data warehousing, cyber-security, international trade and shopping mall management etc.

However, opportunities exist for firms looking to further explore the market in the following areas.

Healthtech: Cutting edge medical technology and digital health companies, telemedicine, diagnostics and drug manufacturing
Agritech: Cutting edge technologies for agricultural production, packing houses, aquaculture, horticulture, green houses, dairy and livestock, urban agriculture, technologies that limit harvest losses and increase shelf life of fresh vegetables and fruits. Sensor systems that optimise crop irrigation and fertilisation and improve yield.
Cybersecurity: Cutting edge firms actionable dark web intelligence, device identity and authentication to prevent identity theft, damage, disruption and misdirection.
Fintech: AI based detection and protection against fraud, money laundering and automated teller machines attacks etc.
Surveillance and Emergency Response: Cutting edge technologies the safe guard of utilities and critical national assets, pipeline monitoring, government installations. The use of drones for surveillance and crop monitoring etc
Edtech: AI based education solution that help instructors to provide personalised and scalable feedback. Platforms for virtual learning and on line education. The classroom has moved on line
Border Control: Solutions for biometric identity to stop illegal entry for economic migrants, cross border criminals and terrorism
Infrastructure: Highway Engineering, Broadband Internet, Housing, Dams.
Energy: Renewable energy such as solar and hydropower
Technology Parks and Incubation Centres in collaboration with Universities, friendship exchange, visits between universities and training. Outsourcing facilities

Dangers
  • Agitation from ethnic nationalities for self determination (IPOB) 
  • More revenue allocation (Niger Delta Militants)
  • Terrorism by the Boko Haram insurgency
  • Kidnapping of locals and foreigners in some areas of the country
  • Religious strife


Mitigation
  • Law Enforcement
  • Economic and Financial Crimes Commission
  • Extradition Agreements


Interventions
  • Creation of the Ministry of the Niger Delta, NDDC, NEDC
  • Improved ranking on World Bank Doing Business League
  • Visa on Arrival
  • Generous Incentives including Tax Holidays and Pioneer Status
  • Bilateral Agreements
  • Investor Protection

Facilitation
  • The Nigerian Immigration (www.immigration.gov.ng)
  • The Nigerian Investment Promotion Council (www.nipc.gov.ng))
  • The Corporate Affairs Commission (www.cac.gov.ng)


Pursuing the Nigerian Dream: The story of Pamela Watson.
An Australian spent a couple of years as an expatriate and later a business owner in Lagos, Nigerian commercial capital and wrote a book on her experience and titled Gibbous Moon Over Lagos. In summary, the book is about the highs and lows of  living and doing business in Lagos, Nigeria.

Conclusion
Majority of Israeli companies do not have Africa in mind when they set out to expand abroad but the perception changes quickly for those that take the plunge.  They have success stories.
I wish to borrow these words from Amit Levi, the Head of Israel's Economic Mission to South Africa: ''You have to treat Africa in general as a long-term investment. Once you manage to settle here and create a good reputation that is something that will serve you in the long run."
Nigeria is the largest economy in Africa and is on the move. It is the best gateway to the West African regional market of over 400 million people.  
I thank the president and members of our club, the Rotary Club of Jerusalem for giving me the platform on this day. Indeed Rotary Opens Opportunities!

Thanks for listening...

For further inquiries


Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Cultivating Nigeria and Israel Business Relations.





In the background is Yigal Alon, an upscale business district in Tel Aviv, a truly global city.


Today marks the end of a business marathon in Israel, that ranged from meetings on innovation, business intelligence, home land security technologies, exports validation and certification, logistics, SMEs training, Women empowerment and a frank discussion at the Chamber of Commerce. A good run...into the new year.

Merry Christmas.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

GIS: CHANGING THE WAY THE WORLD WORKS.



Finding a solution with Geographic Information System (GIS)

GIS is a technology that organises information from multiple sources into all types of layers that can be visualised, analysed and combined to help us understand almost everything about our world. It is rapidly evolving and providing a whole new framework and process, uncovering meanings and insights from within data about everything and at the same time provides a platform for intuitively understanding this data as an integrated whole. Today, hundreds of thousands of organisations in virtually every field of human endeavour are using GIS to make maps that communicate, perform analysis, share information and solve complex problems.

 The advancement of wireless transmission technology and the rise of mobile device simplifies the processes and break the limit of GIS portability problem. It not only expands the GIS application fields, such as personal navigation, electronic commercial application, field survey system, emergency response and rescue system etcetera, but also makes mobile GIS software functions more complete and diversified.  As for lightweight users, however, it is not economical to spend a huge cost purchasing a set of powerful and complete mobile GIS software of which only some basic tools are needed to achieve the goal.

We are business facilitators and researchers and happy to introduce GIS products especially mobile GIS software that are most complete, highly efficient and affordable. Ours is a set of lightweight mobile GIS software which facilitates field surveyors with mobile devices to proceed with the basic data collection, measure GPS positions amongst others. It provides various basic and necessary GIS tools as well as the easy, intuitive and friendly manipulation mode that not only simplify the operation actions and shorten the time of being familiar with the system but also satisfy the users’ needs.

In addition, it has stylish interface that display numerous buttons and toolbars without possessing much map display space, therefore, users can have an easy-to-use operation environment to significantly improve the work efficiency. Our software also provides various GPS tools to assist workers in handling the current coordinate position, and these tools can be the base of editing and survey as well. 

Due to the user-friendly operation environment and easy-to-use tools of our mobile GIS software, it could be said to be the most appropriate GIS tool for the users who do not have the demands of updating data immediately and only need basic survey tools. It has a number of features that is able to facilitate users to proceed with field survey and improve the data usability and applications.

In addition, there is a bouquet of far ranging programs in Desktop and Enterprise GIS that are interoperable, affordable, comes with good after care and have become the toast of many GIS users in several locales across the world.

Contact us for more information on how we can assist with your specific needs. 

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Herbert Macaulay Library, Yaba: A Breadth of Fresh Air!


Herbert Macaulay Library, Yaba, Lagos:
A Breadth of Fresh Air!

The management of information has long been regarded as the domain of librarians as experts in information searching, selecting, acquiring, organising, preserving, repackaging, disseminating and serving information, however, advances in technology provide libraries in the 21st  century with fresh responsibilities to be learning and knowledge centres where people and ideas interact in both the real and virtual environment to expand learning and facilitate the creation and implementation of new knowledge.

Just as the business world is changing in the new knowledge economy amid the digital age, libraries of all types are also undergoing drastic changes. While it is true that advances in technology have thrown up awesome information services such as Google and the gradual shift to libraries without walls, modern day brick and mortar libraries in cosmopolitan smart driven cities have been positioned to offer a range of services that include e-books, cosy reading rooms, courtyards, lounges, internet services, meeting places and enterprise hubs amongst others. In this new culture of shared knowledge, libraries have turned into a generator of value.

Herbert Macaulay Library situated within Yaba area of Lagos State provides a breadth of fresh air having being transformed from a mere storehouse of books (most times outdated and stacked on dusty shelves) into a community place made up of a diverse interlocking series of spaces for study, casual reading, interaction, collaboration, IT support services, café environment, lounge, outdoor terrace and garden.

This has been made possible by the management of Guaranty Trust Bank’s (GTB) in response to the state government’s requests for adoption of libraries. The relevance of this public private partnership cannot be overemphasized. The government in its wisdom understands the need for places within communities where knowledge can be offered without obligation, where people can meet by arrangement or informally bump into neighbours or visitors from out of town. The insight of the government met with the desire of the bank to bring back the books.

Lagos as a megacity has become a magnet for local and international companies looking to do business because of its sizeable market. Also, it has the pull effect of attracting talents and very educated persons looking for decent living in a smart city environment. Cities collect skills and provide a physical platform for them to be recombined into new and productive forms. Cities are not just containers of smart people; they have the enabling infrastructure where connections take place, networks are built and innovative combinations are consummated.

As a matter of fact, cities are assuming greater importance in today’s knowledge driven, innovation economy where place based ecosystem are critical to economic growth. According to a report by McKinsey Global Institute (2011), companies now seek to ask which cities and where will offer the most promising prospects for each of their businesses and how they can best position themselves to capture these market opportunities through their activities and relationships.

Lagos has been described as one of Africa’s economic and demographic powerhouses, attracting the best talents to its locale. The choice of Yaba for the library redevelopment may not be far-fetched. In an article published by Africa Strictly Business, Reuters was quoted as having described Yaba as a part of Nigeria’s sprawling commercial capital; a cacophony of car horns and shouting street vendors, mingling with exhaust fumes and the occasional stench of sewage. Nevertheless, in between the run-down buildings in this seemingly inauspicious part of Lagos, a city of about 21 million people, technology start-ups are taking root and creating a buzz that is drawing international venture capitalists and more established digital firms into the cluster. It is hoped that the location of University of Lagos and Yaba College of Technology in proximity would enhance the capacity of the community to innovate. 

The premise of this article is to highlight the support that intervention, such as by the GTB, brings to a community. Just few metres away from the Hebert Macaulay Library lies the Lagos Mainland Library in dilapidated building. Frankly speaking, it is an eye sore! This library when adopted by GTB or another corporate organisation can complement the services provided by Herbert Macaulay Library by carving a niche around its facility for instance, providing children library services. This would become a draw for parents looking for shared services in close quarters.

Let this article be a clarion call therefore to corporate bodies interested in developing the minds of Lagos residents to support the government by adopting this library. The Herbert Macaulay library redevelopment partnership is a clear case of government not being able to do it all alone. Government needs partners! It cannot be said enough that Lagos Mainland Library needs a puff of fresh air. Give it a life!

This article has been written by Ndudi Osakwe, an economic geographer and consultant, INFOPLUS Business Research Services, Lagos.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016