The Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) provides a new opportunity for Nigeria to play the deserving role as the central market for the continent, especially within the West Africa coast, a financial expert, Dr Lizzie Kings-Wali has said.
This is especially so in West Africa, where the country should serve as the natural pivot for economic activities and prosperity of the sub-region.
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“We have the market size, human capital and natural habitat, such as seaports, that automatically position the country as a business hub,” King-Wali, the founder and CEO of Blackstone Capital Limited, said in an interview with Daily Trust in Lagos.
Blackstone Capital focuses on providing credit solutions to SMEs and households, with a particular interest in commerce, education, light manufacturing, travels & tourism, healthcare and basic industries.
According to Kings-Wali, boosting entrepreneurship and attracting investments requires creating the right environment.
SMEs, she said, have the capacity to create jobs and resolve the high youth unemployment crisis in the country and its associated social vices. Youth unemployment rose to 53.40 per cent in the last quarter of 2020, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.
“It’s like a chicken-and-egg situation; the government needs to generate revenue, but if it does not create the environment to stimulate domestic investment and attract foreign direct investment, it’s going to be like chasing a ghost,” she said.
“The monetary policy authority may also need to take a second look at the foreign currency policy and consider some alternative or complementary approaches that can better enhance market confidence and the stability of the naira,” she advised.