NACCIMA has called for impactful public-Private sector collaboration at a recent Conference on review of Nigeria’s Foreign Policy held in Abuja from 19-21 April 2021. The Conference was jointly convened by the House Committees on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as calls for review of Nigeria’s Foreign Policy becomes louder.
The call for greater public-Private sector collaboration was made by the NACCIMA DG Amb Ayoola Olukanni in the paper he presented at the 3 day Conference. The Conference brought together members of the National Assembly, Academia, Members of the Armed Forces, representatives from the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs, retired Ambassadors and other stakeholders. Comptroller General Immigration Service and the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC) also attended the Conference. The DG who made his presentation from the perspectives of the private sector spoke on the topic “Economic Diplomacy and National Development: Effective Optimisation of Public-Private Partnerships” averred that with the increasing role of the private sector in the Nigerian economy, the Private sector should be regularly consulted in the articulation of our Foreign policy and its implementation and this should be done in cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Nigerian Missions abroad. He used the ocassion to assure stakeholders at the Conference of the readiness of NACCIMA, as the premier National Chambers of Commerce with members across the country, to continue to work closely with the National Assembly to ensure that Economic Diplomacy and it’s new variant the New Economic Diplomacy initiative(NEDi) as a component part of Nigeria’s Foreign Policy improves FDI flows to Nigeria and becomes more impactful on the nations economy. In this regard he called for significant improvement in security across the country to ensure Confidence of foreign investors in the Nigerian economy and that Nigeria was indeed a worthy investment destination. He similarly called for measures to ensure impact of Remimtances from the Nigerian Diaspora on the Nigerian economy and at subnational level. In this regard, He suggested that serious consideration should be given to closer interaction between Chambers across the country and Groups and members of Nigerian Diaspora. On the issue of the need for review of Nigeria’s Foreign Policy the DG observed that time was overdue for an all stakeholders National conference to review of Nigeria’s Foreign Policy. This is to ensure adoption of strategic options in view of dramatic changes in the new world order brought about by dramatic developments in the ICT and global Covid 19 Pandemic with consequences for the global economy and conduct of international relations. He drew attention to the fact that the last time a similar Foreign Policy Review Conference took place was 35 years ago at the All Nigeria Foreign Policy Review Conference held at NIPSS in April 1986 at NIPSS Kuru. He said there was now an urgent need for “Kuru 2”. This is to review our Foreign policy to reposition Nigeria as major player in the global economy as the world continues witness dramatic changes in the global financial system and economic landscape with emergence of new key actors shaping the global economy. Notably the outcome document endorsed the recommendation and agreed that at regular interval of 5 years, there should be a review of Nigerian Foreign policy. The DG also spoke on the AFCFTA as an area that deserves close attention as the nation mulls which way to go as it articulates a foreign policy posture and thrust with due attention to the economy.He was of the view that any Foreign policy thrust should include a robust engagement that will promote the economy of the nation in which the private sector is expected to play a leading role. He pointed out that already several Nigerian conglomerates have emerged as key players in some African countries and their products such as cement and other fast moving consumer goods dominate the market of those countries He also spoke of Nigerian Banks and financial institutions that are already major players especially in several African countries. He drew attention to the thriving Nigeria Digital Private Sector as reflected in performance of several Nigerian Fintech Companies. All of These are indications of readiness of the Nigerian Private sector to play key role in Nigeria’s Economic Diplomatic engagement. In its comments the Chair of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs Rt Hon Yusuf Buba Yakub expressed appreciation to stakeholders who participated in the meeting and especially to NACCIMA as a leading member of the Organised Private sector who’s input will be critical in any new Foreign Policy thrust especially in the area of Nigeria’s bilateral and multilateral economic relations. He assured that the various presentations at the Conference will be factored into next steps regarding review of our Foreign policy. Picture here below shows the DG Ambassador Ayoola being presented a plaque of appreciation by Rt Hon Dr Yusuf Buba Yakub, the Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs