[Nigeria Business Week] Andrea Ayemoba: Industries unanimously look toward renewable, sustainable practices
The Covid-19 crisis has been cause for numerous economic slumps round the world; companies were shut down, production halted, industries crippled and prices skyrocketed the world over. Several countries responded by using unaffected sectors to stay afloat while working hard to reactivate the more damaged ones, such as hospitality and tourism.
Nigeria’s response has not been different. The government encouraged citizens to rely on land and food production – agriculture is and will always remain a sure bet. To this end, there’s been a renewed interest in stimulating agricultural skill sets, especially in women and youth. France has just invested heavily to enhance the agri-food enterprise in women in Nigeria. Indigenous firm, Agricorp, is also investing N4b into poultry and livestock production.
Technology reached its height of necessity in Nigeria during the past year. With personal interactions discouraged and sometimes prohibited, people turned to digital devices for communication. Businesses did the same, even beverage giant, Coca-Cola, who recently launched a new app in Nigeria. Telecom companies ramped up their services to meet the increased demand, especially in rural areas. Industry leaders, MTN and Airtel Africa, have made headlines this week, the former launching its public offering of ordinary shares and the latter completing acquisition of Airtel Nigeria. MTN, though strong and regarded as the most profitable company in Nigeria, did suffer losses worth over N400bn this week on the stock market.
On the banking scene, United Bank for Africa (UBA) had a shining moment, receiving international recognition from the Banker Magazine. FirstBank made known its strategy for a sustainable, non-oil-dependent economy.
Nigeria’s foreign reserves have seen a 35% increase in the past one year, indicating a strong GDP, despite challenges in naira/dollar fluctuations affecting stability. Indeed, dollar shortage in the economy has caused foreign airlines to take severe measures against Nigeria-bound travelers.
In other recent developments, a southern state governor made infrastructure and education top priority for 2022. The culture of recycling is taking hold in Nigeria, as exemplified by the innovative idea of a container terminal to recycle used tires into pavement blocks. In similar efforts toward renewable and sustainable practices, a real estate CEO has sounded the recommendation for green buildings and construction in the country.