Nigeria's Okechukwu Enelamah talks growth, private partnerships and economic diversity

By Jennifer Ehidiamen 17 February 2017

Okechukwu Enelamah, the Nigerian minister of industry, trade, and investment. Photo by: World Trade Organization / CC BY-SA

The Nigerian government is seeking to harness public-private partnerships in implementing its newly launched “Economic Recovery and Growth Plan,” which outlines government policies aimed at creating a diversified economy with structural changes that would boost growth.

While speaking at an event in Washington, D.C., organized by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Okechukwu Enelamah, the Nigerian minister of industry, trade, and investment, said that the government would be working closely with the private sector to ensure an effective implementation of the plan.

“You have to have collaboration and partnership between the public sector, the private sector and civil society,” Enelamah told Devex in an interview.

He explained that the government was also open to partnerships with international institutions at all levels.

“People tend to work in the area where they have a burden, where they have an interest, and that is where we need global development institutions,” he said. “They could pick their areas and work with us in those areas because we need a lot of capacity to get the result we seek.”

Although oil contributes only 40 percent to Nigeria’s GDP, the government derives about 70 percent of its revenue from oil exportation. However, the recent fall in global oil prices has adversely affected the economic growth of the country, placing pressure on the government to diversify away from its current main source of revenue.

The Economic Recovery and Growth Plan's top priorities aim to strengthen the food and agribusiness sector, improve infrastructure and energy provision, and implement a robust industrialization of small- and medium-scale enterprises. Its successful implementation will enable Nigeria to achieve a diversification and job creation agenda while improving its trade and investment landscape.

“Our biggest priority is to achieve reasonable implementation of this plan within the life of this administration,” said Enelamah, “we are very keen to work with the private sector to implement the plan in a very systematic and robust way.”

An industrial council led by a representative of the private sector selected by the government will oversee the plan, Enelamah said.

“The other part that is of increasing interest to us is the whole area of the digital economy,”  Enelamah said. He explained that the government aims to support the private sector’s diversification efforts in the digital industry through a smart digital economy project or initiative.

Despite the uncertainties surrounding the Africa policy under the new administration of U.S. President Donald Trump, Enelamah said he is optimistic that the White House would be favorable toward Nigeria’s economic growth due to historical private sector investments between the two countries. President Trump had his first conversation with Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari earlier this week to discuss ways to improve cooperation between the two countries.

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About the author

Ehidiamen jennifer
Jennifer Ehidiamendisgeneration

Jennifer Ehidiamen is a Nigerian writer who is passionate about communications and journalism. She has worked as a reporter and communications consultant for different organizations in Nigeria and overseas. She has an undergraduate degree in mass communication from the Nigerian Institute of Journalism, Lagos, and M.A. in business and economics from Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, New York. In 2014, she founded Rural Reporters (www.ruralreporters.com) with the goal of amplifying underreported news and issues affecting rural communities.


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