Nigeria’s Population to Hit 400m by 2050: Finance Minister, Zainab Ahmed

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SWITZERLAND, SEPTEMBER 18 – Nigeria’s population is expected to reach 400 million by 2050 with 65% of the population under the age of 35.

This was revealed by the Minister of Finance, Bugdet and Economic Planing, Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed in her briefing on the upcoming National Economic Summit(NES) scheduled to hold from October 7 – 8, 2019 at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja.

Read her complete address below:

It gives me great pleasure to address you on this very important occasion of the World Press Conference for the Twenty-Fifth Nigerian Economic Summit (NES#25). Let me start by commending the Gentlemen of the Press for their roles in publicising and ensuring the successful hosting of the Twenty-fourth Nigerian Economic Summit (NES#24).

2. The purpose of our gathering here today is essentially to brief you, on our preparation for this year’s Summit. We are looking forward to an even greater support from you as we host the Summit. This year’s Summit is unique because it marks a historic milestone. It is the 25th Summit and, indeed an Anniversary event. It is a celebration of the continued engagement between the public and private sectors which has been sustained over the years.

3. As you may be aware, the Nigerian Economic Summit is organized annually by the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG) and the Federal Government of Nigeria represented by the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning. The Summit has become a veritable platform for dialogue between the leaders of Public and Private Sectors. The forum provides opportunity for interaction, sharing thoughts and building consensus on issues relating to the Nigerian economy.

4. It also brings together development partners, the civil society and representatives of the academia as well as provides participants the unique opportunity to interact on issues of national development whilst evolving a common strategy and policy framework for addressing them. The Summit has over the years helped to shape many of the reform policies underpinning the evolution of our economic growth and development.

5. Distinguished Gentlemen of the Press, you will recall that the 24th Summit focused on “Poverty to Prosperity: Making Governance & Institutions Work”. It addressed issues of good governance as a path to sustainable human and economic development. It provided a timely opportunity for a national economic review and created a consensus amongst all Nigerians on the need to ensure that Nigerians take advantage of the opportunities that exist to increase productivity and create jobs.

6. Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, this year’s Summit is scheduled to hold from October 7 – 8, 2019 at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja. Our preparation for the 25th Nigerian Economic Summit has reached an advanced stage. The theme of the Summit, is “Nigeria 2050: Shifting Gears”. Shifting Gears emphasize the imperatives for the country to move to a more robust competitive private sector economy while discussing the implication of the projected population of the country hitting over 400 million by 2050 with 65% of the population under the age of 35.

7. This figure we know will put an unimaginable pressure on our educational institutions, structures, resources and manpower. In this regard, it is only a competitive private sector led economy that will drive this process and ensure economic prosperity all for Nigerians.

8. As with past Summits, the 2019 edition will be anchored on Plenary, Breakout Sessions and Round Table Discussions. Key outcomes of past Summits and their impacts on the Nigerian Economy will also be reviewed. In addition, we shall feature Startup Pitching Events which was introduced as a means of connecting startups registered in Nigeria and are doing business for no more than 3 to 5 years and seeking to raise needed funds. Selection will be based on innovativeness, market size and diversity. It is hoped that this will provide a veritable platform for creating and expanding business opportunities in Nigeria. The application portal was opened on August 1, 2019.
9. At this juncture let me say that to ensure a competitive economy we must have stable macroeconomic conditions and business climate that will keep transaction costs low, thereby encouraging savings, investment and job creation. Nigeria’s economic prosperity depends on the productivity of our human and natural resources.

10. To achieve these we need;
• A modern and well-regulated financial sector that turns savings into productive investments;
• Ability to advance in research, development and technology;
• Investment in hard and soft infrastructure as well as sustained encouragement of entrepreneurship and innovation;
• Economic activity in manufacturing, services, agriculture and natural resources that are viable and plugged into global value chains;
• Introduction of legislations and policies that provide a sustainable foundation for the continuous development of human resources, science and technology, research and development, innovation and infrastructure and;
• Identification of and focus on specific industries (and industry segments) that Nigeria has or can build sustainable competitive advantage.

11. Ladies and Gentlemen, achieving these will in no small measure build a competitive private sector economy that will guarantee the needed economic prosperity for Nigerians.

12. This year’s Summit would be setting a new agenda for Nigeria to key into the 4th Industrial Revolution as the Summit Sub-themes will focus on the following:
• Achieving rapid industrialization;
• Transforming education and;
• Managing demography.

13. Discussions around the Sub-themes will be driven by six identified critical sectors of the economy which are Agriculture, Manufacturing, ICT, Financial Services, Creative Industry and the Extractive Industry. Twelve accelerators and Indicators have also been identified for discussion as central to the growth of competitive industries and meeting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which ensures a prosperous future.

14. The Summit will further seek to:
 Underscore the critical enablers of the private sector led economy that the country needs;
 Develop and deploy human capital to achieve higher productivity;
 Discuss policy framework that is required to guarantee a globally competitive economy that is inclusive;
 Strategize on how to mobilize and attract needed investments;
 Map out possible scenarios on the path to the future we envision and;
 Highlight the role of State Governments in the competitiveness and growth agenda.

15. Distinguished Gentlemen of the Press, the Summit will also have an on-site simulation of “Life as an Internally Displaced Persons (IDP)” which will recreate the living conditions of IDPs in the camps. This will enable Summit participants to feel the experiences of internally displaced persons in their Camps.

16. At the national level, Government has taken steps towards making the country investment friendly and competitive. Part of this was the establishment of the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) to address constraints to businesses and the Executive Orders focusing on Ease of Doing Business and increasing local content that have been signed to support the diversification efforts. The implementation of these policies enabled Nigeria to move 24 places to 146th from 169th position on the ease of doing business ranking of the World Bank. Government is also working on operational, regulatory and legislative interventions to enable the country move to the top 100 on ease of doing business ranking.

17. We have also established a Competitiveness Advisory Council and Special Economic Zones (SEZs) in the 6 Geo-political Zones, as a vehicle for partnering with the private sector. The initiative is in line with modern trend of providing infrastructure to business clusters to improve and boost economic activities in such zones as found in China and other fast growing economies. We believe that these initiatives will improve trade balances, investment and create jobs.

18. Ladies and Gentlemen, Government is working towards launching a broad range of sector–specific activities to attract investment and drive growth through improving regulatory efficiency. In this respect, the Solid Mineral Development Fund (SMDF)is being refocused to de-risk value chains in the mining sector and diversify national income streams.

19. To expand transportation and other infrastructures that will make the country competitive for investment, Government is willing to work with the private sector in commercially viable projects.

20. As you are aware, the greatest challenge facing government is inadequate revenue to execute the numerous projects and other initiatives it intends to implement. New sources of revenue is being identified and enhanced. Coordination and cohesion among revenue generating agencies, is being improved.

21. Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, we expect that this year’s Summit will present a unique opportunity for discussion among leaders and citizens to set an agenda for Nigerians to deepen discussions on issues and challenges that face the country. The Summit will also assist in proffering solution on how to maximize the large workforce, reap the demographic dividends and achieve a competitive economy that is inclusive leading to improved standard of living and economic prosperity for the citizenry.

22. Distinguished Gentlemen of the Press, the task of organizing a Summit of this magnitude has never been easy. In this regard, let me appreciate the contributions of the various corporate organizations that have provided support towards the successful hosting of the Summit. They have remained reliable partners. The tireless efforts of members of the Joint Planning Committee (JPC) is also worthy of commendation. I therefore solicit your cooperation, support, adequate coverage and reportage of the Twenty Fifth Nigerian Economic Summit, (NES#25).

23. I thank you all for listening.

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