Africa Business Communities

[Nigeria Business Week] Andrea Ayemoba: The 'ember' months performance review

The end of year (fondly referred to as ‘ember months’) tends to bring about anxieties of different sorts among Nigerians – prices run higher, certain goods get scarce, long lines form at gas stations, the dry season affects food production and availability, and on and on it goes. This does take away from the natural joy that Nigerians feel as they see another year roll by – Christmas and New Year are a big deal. Running parallel with the celebrations is the inevitable reflection of the year’s performance in economic terms. Have fewer or more jobs been created than was the case last year? Is food production higher? Have more (successful) startups emerged?

The answers differ, depending on who you ask. Government agencies show reduced inflation, but the food prices continue to climb. Local and efficient food generation is key to solving this, and the Africa Development Bank is unrelenting it its effort to further Nigeria’s agro-industrial food processing system. 

International organizations have their own analysis too. The World Bank experts disclose a startling portion of the population lacking banking services. The Bank is also concerned about Nigeria’s agro-climatic resilience – a direct cause for the decline in crop productivity – and has laid out a substantial credit to mitigate desertification.

More climate concerns have emerged from Europe, with France working with the Federal Government to mitigate carbon exposure and effects in the country. 

As to the question of startups, Nigeria is undoubtedly thriving, porting the highest number of startups in Africa in 2020. The tech environment has proved to be a profitable one to venture capitalists and international investors. An African fintech software company this week launched its payment processing platform in Lagos. 

Trade and commerce also saw some activity, with India and Nigeria reaching a commercial agreement, and China and Turkey in negotiations for the same. 

As we said last week, toward year end, Nigeria is gets more centered on food production and agriculture than ever. But other matters rise to the surface. Insurance, for example, is garnering some interest on a federal level, as well as the return of looted treasures to Nigeria. These processes are long and take time to bear fruit, but the ember months bring with them renewed energy and optimism for the year to come.

Andrea Ayemoba is a Senior Editor at Africa Business Communities.


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