Okonjo-Iweala, other global business leaders for Nigeria’s NES#26

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A former Managing Director of the World Bank is among global business leaders expected to participate in the 26th Nigerian Economic Summit (NES#26) starting on Monday in Abuja.

The two-day annual event organised by the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG) in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning will be on the theme, ‘Building Partnerships for Resilience’.

The rescheduled event, postponed from October 26 and 27 due to the #EndSARS protests, will focus on strategic partnerships between the youth, governments, private sector and the civil society to build resilience for Nigeria’s households, businesses and economy.

Apart from Mrs Okonjo-Iweala, who is currently the preferred candidate for the post of Director-General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), other national and global policymakers, business leaders, development partners and scholars expected to participate in sessions during the summit include the former Prime Minister of Australia, Julia Gillard.

Ms Gillard will speak at an all-female plenary session on ‘Women in Leadership: Towards the Global goals.’

Other speakers at the sessions include the Commonwealth Secretary-General, Patricia Scotland, who will deliver a special address at the summit; the chairperson of First Bank Nigeria, Ibukun Awosika, and Chief Executive Officer of Connected Development, Hamzat Lawal, amongst others.

A statement from the NESG secretariat said some of the panelists scheduled to speak at the opening plenary session of the summit tagged ‘Nigeria’s Turning Point’ include the Ekiti State Governor, Kayode Fayemi, and his Sokoto State counterpart, Aminu Tambuwal, and CEO, MainOne, Funke Opeke.

The NESG said in recognition of the need to have the voice of the youth heard, the summit will provide participants with the platform to deliberate on topical issues, particularly the need to amplify the voice of our youth relating to the issues they have raised in the past few weeks.

“It has become apparent that the level of investment in the youth will determine the pace of economic growth, development, and security of the nation,” the NESG said.

“Governments at all levels, especially the sub-nationals and all stakeholders need to refocus youth development programmes from mere prescriptive employment drives to improve the wealth creation capabilities of the youth and find ways to ensure that empowerment policies and programmes adopt a broader and more holistic framework,” it added.

Consequently, the NESG said recent developments in the country involving the youth has informed the decision to dedicate some sessions and design workshops during the summit to the youth and how their potentials can be harnessed for economic growth and development.

Such sessions and workshops would include ‘Unlocking the Productive Potential of Nigerian Youth, Empowering Nigeria’s youth’, ‘Our Youth Bulge – Risk or opportunity and Rethinking Sub-National Competitiveness.’ The NESG said the sessions would highlight the role of Nigeria’s sub-nationals as frontiers for national development.

Discussions at NES#26 will be anchored on three pillars – Collaboration, Execution and Impact that will be dimensioned across five sub-themes: Mapping the Future; New Trends, New Opportunities, New Horizons; Embracing Technology and Innovation; Building Resilience and Charting the Path to Recovery.

The 26th Nigerian Economic Summit is expected to be a ‘Big Conversation for Action’ that combines in-person and virtual dialogues for stakeholders across the civil society, public and private sector to reflect on the state of the Nigerian economy and rethink the country’s economic fundamentals.