Experts have highlighted the need to boost Nigeria’s services exports and encourage business services outsourcing in order to spur job creation and economic development.
A senior analyst at SBM Intelligence, Joachim MacEbong, said Nigeria must learn to be export-focused to achieve prosperity for its large population.
He said, “There is a lot of potential for business process outsourcing. However, Nigeria is still not friendly to the foreign investment that could create jobs for youths who are struggling with unemployment.
“We need to address our hostility to foreign capital. Having more French speakers could help Nigeria take advantage of the AfCFTA (Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement) by clearing the language barrier against services.”
An economist and Editor-in-Chief at Stears Business, Tokunbo Afikuyomi, in a telephone interview with our correspondent, said Nigeria did not have services orientated for demand in the international market.
He said, “Tourism is not attractive in Nigeria due to poor infrastructure, and it is difficult activating business with Nigerian companies or Nigerians due to forex constraints and restrictions from payment services like PayPal and Transferwise.
“What we should do is follow the Indian model by becoming the world’s alternative services hub. Nigeria is the fourth largest English-speaking country, with a favourable time zone and lots of cheap labour.”
He added that the country needed to focus on human capacity development and scale initiatives like Andela, which trained Nigerians to offer services to big US tech companies paying in dollars.
Afikuyomi said, “We should enact policies that make it easier to transact with Nigerians and overhaul the education sector to train students with 21st-century high-paying jobs.
“We also need to improve our internet broadband infrastructure and domesticate the AfCFTA as we have a comparative advantage in tech, finance and communications.”
He added that data from the World Bank showed that if Nigeria used the services angle to take advantage of the AfCFTA, it could produce about 200 thousand jobs.
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