The 11th Nigeria Summit: Guardian welcomes the Economist to Nigeria

BECO 1Nigeria’s political and business leaders along with foreign investors and academics will gather at the Intercontinental Hotel, Lagos for the 11th edition of The Nigeria Summit. Although it’s not quite the emergency confab suggested by Professor Wole Soyinka, the conference comes at a critical time in light of the country’s perilous economic situation and serves as an opportunity for the influential to discuss and debate the serious challenges that lie ahead for Nigeria.

It could be argued that Nigeria’s economic woes have come to a head. Oil prices have plummeted to around $30 a barrel hitting the economy hard, experts predict prices will continue to drop throughout the year with some analysts forecasting as low as $15 a barrel. The Naira is in a state of free fall and has depreciated to record lows, foreign reserves are disappearing quickly, insurgency is ravaging the north and poverty is on the rise, with an estimated 110 million Nigerians now living below the poverty line. Despite the seriousness of these problems the government has remained largely silent, failing to reveal a tangible economic policy much to the chagrin and frustration of the populace.

The two day conference, which kicks off on Monday, is aptly themed ‘Dawn of A New Day” and will focus on Nigeria’s role as the continents largest economy and how the country can steer itself through this turbulent period towards a more prosperous future. Hosted by The Economist, who infamously labelled former President Jonathan an ‘ineffectual buffoon’ in a scathing critique of his administration, The Nigeria Summit goes beyond a mere gathering of the powerful it gives hundreds of stakeholders the opportunity to share and exchange ideas on how to chart a successful course for the country.

Alongside the Vice-president Professor Yemi Osinbajo and Okechukwu Enelamah, Minister for Trade and Investment will be Kashim Shettima, Governor of Borno Statem Aliko Dangote, CEO of The Dangote Group, Herbert Wigwe, CEO of Access Bank and many more as they discuss issues ranging from agricultural reform and infrastructure to universal healthcare and economic policy.

Three of the most hotly anticipated areas of discussion will be:

The Nigerian economy after oil
Perhaps the most pertinent question on the minds of most Nigerians is where the country in headed in the midst of the collapse of the oil market. All eyes will be on the Vice President as he leads the discussion by outlining the Buhari administrations economic policy and plan to stabilize the economy

National security and economic growth
Despite the growth of Nigeria’s economy, sectarian violence has plagued the north of the country for years. Kashim Shettima, the Governor of Borno state will lead this panel discussion on the inextricable link between national security and economic growth and how Nigeria can win the battle insurgency to secure a brighter economic future.

Talent and education
Nigeria has 10 million children out of school and a staggering youth unemployment rate, left unresolved both issues could have devastating effects on the future of the country, but what is the way forward? How can the government best harness the potential of the country’s massive youth population? What role p, if any, does the private sector have in training and developing that nations youth?

The Guardian will be covering The Nigeria Summit live, for updates please follow us on Twitter and tune in to our live blog.

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