The United States of America, USA, has joined its voice to the call on Nigerians to take advantage of its huge agricultural potentials to create wealth and build sustainable Small and Medium Enterprises economy.
The U.S Consul General, Mr. John Bray, disclosing this at the African Food and Products Conference and Exhibition (AFPE) with the theme, “Sustainability and Innovation: Pathway to Business Success for SMEs’’, said that the world knew Nigeria as an oil country not as an agriculture rich nation.
Bray who was represented by Brent Omdahl, Commercial Counselor, U.S.A Commercial Service in Nigeria, stated: “The task before Nigeria is to show the world its enormous potential in agriculture. Nigeria needs to use agriculture to create wealth, employment and grow its economy, U.S. is doing that and Nigeria can do that too. In the next 50 years, what produce will be known around the world as a signature product from Nigeria. Would it be shea butter, tiger nut, cashew or palm oil; Nigeria has the comparative advantage in these produce and more and should explore it the same way the U.S. explored cranberry potential to create wealth,” he said.
The President of NACC, Otunba Oluwatoyin Akomolafe said the contribution of SME’s sustainability and innovation to economic prosperity has grown with the shift of the global economy towards a mode of production in which knowledge has become a key input.
“Let me be clear in saying that nobody can doubt how oil extraction and processing have positively shaped the economy of Nigeria. It is equally doubtful that Nigeria’s futuristic growth can be sustained with the same source. Hence, the need for diversification which is precisely where SMEs sustainability and innovation play their role in contributing to economic prosperity” he said.
Managing Director, Sterling Bank Plc, Mr Abubakar Suleiman, said that achieving sustainable growth in the country was about the ability to reduce poverty, boost employment and improve citizen’s welfare.
Suleiman, who was represented by Mr Shina Atilola, Divisional Head, Retail and Consumer Banking, Sterling Bank, said any initiative or policy that did not lead to employment creation would not catalyse development.
He disclosed that Sterling Bank is using innovation to facilitate seamless and quick access to finance for Small and Medium Enterprises toward aiding their sustainable business growth.
“Many SMEs are using innovation to drive their businesses, there is optimism that Nigerian businesses would in the nearest future proffer solutions to the world’s food challenge” he said.