[Nigeria Business Week] Andrea Ayemoba: Nigeria enters green market, takes on AfCFTA implementation
The collaboration of government with industries is crucial for economic progress, be the market large or small. Nigeria knows this and is taking steps to work closely and create better transparency in one of the country’s most robust industries - oil and gas – by mandating ownership disclosure of oil assets.
Free trade on the continent, and indeed within Nigeria, remains an issue of concern. Implementation of the Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) depends to a large extent on Nigeria’s enforcing its protocols. This becomes a tall order, seeing as local trade still incurs significant costs that often can’t be shouldered by the common trader. In response to this, President Buhari has called for a single African Air Transport Market, citing the initiative as an opportunity for the AfCFTA to thrive and truly succeed.
International trade is not without its challenges as well, as is seen in the escalating price of cooking gas that has caused marketers to freeze imports. Agriculture imports however have seen a positive development, with the food import bill dropping an impressive 80% over the past seven years.
Banks in Nigeria are famous for staying innovative both in technology and social development programs, as well as activities not strictly connected to banking. Two major banks this week partnered on vehicle financing and e-commerce, and the United Bank for Africa’s foundation launched a mental health awareness program for clients and workers. Jaiz Bank showed a higher profit margin for Q3 and six major banks showed a combined 40% increase in profit from regular banking activitiessuch as current account maintenance.
Meta made an appearance with the launch of a business tool on its Whatsapp platform to coach SMEs in Nigeria and other English speaking countries. Small business owners in the e-commerce and delivery sector also stand to gain from Uber Connect, Uber’s new service launched in Lagos for higher efficiency in transportation. Also beneficial to e-commerce is the issuance of physical and virtual cards, which is the purpose of Kuda Technologies’ recent partnership with Visa.
As we reported last week, MTN’s profitability is top-tier in Nigeria, a profitability that’s little affected by inflation and forex devaluation. The telecom giant’s investors this week took home enough profits to leave the stock market with a loss worth billions of Naira.
The Aviation industry did not get a pat on the back; thanks to the high airport taxes and charges levied on just about every operation, Nigerian airports have been ranked as one of the most expensive on the continent. This might be one explanation for why the Aviation is one of the most stagnant industries in the country.
Nigeria did slide into new territory this week with the launch of the first green exchange, tapping into the opportunities in the green and sustainable finance market.