Compliments of the season and a very happy New Year to you!

Last month, the European Business Organization of Nigeria (EBO Nigeria) celebrated it’s one-year anniversary in Nigeria. It was a successful event where we all gathered to celebrate and discuss topical issues that continue to affect the Nigerian economy.

EBO Nigeria was launched on October 4, 2018 at the annual European Union- Nigeria Business forum to actively promote trade, investments and exchanges between the European and Nigerian business, advocating European quality standards, best practices and corporate social responsibility. It is a member of the EBO worldwide network and has a growing network that connects European business associations and chambers of commerce from more than 35 countries globally.

Nigeria continues to remain an interesting and prospect-filled market. According to the African Development Bank, Nigeria accounts for nearly 20% of continental GDP and about 75% of the West African economy. 

With a population estimated at around 200 million, the opportunities for businesses are almost endless. However, complexities abound in almost equal measure and like in many parts of the world, the ability to manage the different stakeholder groups is central to success. Working through an umbrella group that synthesizes the needs of its members into broad actionable themes for engaging with stakeholders can play a vital role for businesses.

This year, it is predicted that economic activities will gather pace. The recovery from the recession has been slow and the uncertainties that dogged the beginning of the election year took their toll. Still operating on a backdrop of reduced crude oil revenues, the positive predictions for 2020 ride mainly on the back of more upbeat private consumption which may likely be supported by the full rollout of the minimum wage hike. 

For those who have been in business in Nigeria for a few years, you will agree that these do not mean business here will be any less challenging. The World Bank summarizes that growth will remain stable at around 2%. However, the fact that the growth is slower than that of the population means living conditions may worsen, triggering adverse consequences for other indices. Unemployment, insecurity, power shortages and a generally more subdued global economic outlook are significant factors that cannot be overlooked and we should keep an eye on these while planning to take advantage of the positive predictions. 

With the Nigerian economy evolving, the political space, business opportunities and challenges continue to transform as new policies and measures emerge.  

2020 will be the year of action for EBO. We discussed intensively with our member companies and stakeholders to filter the pain points. We identified the necessary stakeholders to address those points. At the EBO, we will continue to identify conversations about the economy and how our members can plug into opportunities using the body as leverage.

In an economic climate like ours, contributing to dialogues is one leg of the hurdle.  As the primary economic development partners for Nigeria, industry –  through the EBO – has an even more crucial role to play by attracting and facilitating  international  collaborations that will bring on-board world class expertise, resources and competencies to local socio-economic discourse, policy formulation and implementation.

The EBO is an active member of the EBO Worldwide Network which represents European Business Interests in 40 key markets outside the European Union. Organisations joining the EBO Nigeria therefore will have access through EBO’s integrations, of connecting with these 40 key markets. 

This year, the EBO will be streamlining its efforts towards ensuring that we become THE key shaper for EU business in Nigeria, taking advantage of opportunities and leading advocacy for favorable policies and environment that our members can tap into for the growth of their investments and businesses. 

Through our working groups and standing committees, we will concentrate on strategic engagements with high profile stakeholders across regulatory, political and business spaces who possess the capacity to elevate our advocacy and help us achieve the desired traction.

With EBO all European companies have a very strong instrument in their hands, the organisation is built for the member companies but we need the active involvement of each and every member company to make EBO a success.

I look forward to further discussions on these in our various platforms planned for this year and beyond.

Thank you.

Folashade Ambrose-Medebem

President, EBO Nigeria