Zenith Bank Plc and other stakeholders in the financial have called for support of Nigeria’s non-oil export sector.
A statement said they made the call at the 7th annual edition of the Zenith Bank International Trade Seminar with the theme, ‘Unlocking opportunities in Nigeria’s non-oil export business’ in Lagos and was also held virtually on Wednesday.
In his goodwill message presentation, the Founder and Chairman of Zenith Bank Plc, Mr Jim Ovia, called for a concerted effort towards diversifying Nigeria’s export base through the promotion of non-oil exports.
Highlighting the importance of non-oil export to the nation’s economy, Ovia said Nigeria exported cocoa and several other non-oil products for years before oil was discovered.
Ovia said, “We should also look at promoting the nation’s non-oil export sector through technology to create technological giants like Apple, Tesla, and Google. And we already have technology companies in this mould in Nigeria, such as Flutterwave, which has a valuation of $3bn, making it more valuable than some banks in Nigeria.”
Speaking further on the enormous potential in Nigeria’s non-oil sector, Ovia highlighted the phenomenal growth of Nigeria’s emerging financial technology companies such as Flutherwave, OPay, Interswitch, Kuda and Paystack, with market valuations of $3bn, $2bn, $1bn, $500m, $200m, respectively.
He also noted that the most capitalized companies in the world, such as Apple, Microsoft, Alphabet (Google), Amazon, Tesla, Visa, etc., are not oil companies but are in the technological innovation space.
In his welcome address, the Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Zenith Bank, Mr Ebenezer Onyeagwu, said the annual Zenith Bank trade seminar has served as a veritable platform to deepen the conversation on promoting non-oil export in Nigeria.
He said it brings together non-oil export practitioners and relevant government agencies to interact and explore the opportunities and proffer solutions to the challenges of non-oil export in the country.
The Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr Godwin Emefiele, commended Zenith Bank and its leadership led by Ovia, for its initiative in organising an annual export seminar to explore opportunities in Nigeria’s non-oil export with a view to increasing the nation’s non-oil export base and ultimately increasing its share as a percentage of total export.
The President & Chief Executive, Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, said “Nigeria’s non-oil export is quite low compared to other African top oil producers. This exposes the economy to oil price/production risks.”