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Digital Nigeria will help drive inclusive growth – Airtel CEO

L-R, Economist and Policy analyst, Dr. Ogho Okiti; MD/CEO, Airtel Nigeria, Segun Ogunsanya and Africa and Middle East Senior Economist, Bloomberg Intelligence, Mark Bohlund at the 2nd Nigeria Stock Exchange and BLOOMBERG CEO’s Round table in Lagos. 
Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of Airtel Nigeria, Segun Ogunsanya, has called on the Federal Government to prioritize digitization, noting that focus on a vision of digital Nigeria will help drive inclusive growth.
Ogunsanya who was speaking, last Wednesday, at the second edition of the Nigeria Stock Exchange CEO Roundtable, said the mass adoption of connected digital services by consumers, enterprises, and governments, will emerge as a major driver and enabler of socio-economic benefits, driving inclusive growth across sectors.

According to him, implementing a vision of digital Nigeria will not only help diversify the economy for good but will also create massive employment opportunities and provide citizens opportunities and access to education, health, while opening up other sectors.

Illustrating the massive impact of digitization to economic growth and development, Ogunsanya said an increase in a country’s digitisation score fuels growth in its GDP per capita. Indeed, “ICT is important to every sector as it provides the right platform to drive the economy,” he noted.

Speaking further, the Airtel CEO also urged the Federal Government and the Central Bank of Nigeria to classify the telecoms sector under Manufacturing as this will enable players in the sector benefit from the current Foreign Exchange direction.

He noted that the sector manufactures recharge cards and also provide high end telecommunications equipment that helps accelerate growth and adoption of mobile Internet and voice services in the country.

Speaking to the theme of the event, navigating the changing landscape of business in Nigeria, Mr. Ogunsanya said Airtel has adopted a model that is focussed on innovation, cost optimization and provision of bespoke mobile Internet and telecommunications services to its consumers.

“The telecoms industry is a unique one because while prices are rising everywhere our prices are falling because we have been able to create innovative ways to meet the needs of our customers without increasing costs.”

While speaking on the economy Mr. Ogunsanya noted that though foreign exchange is still a critical issue, Nigeria has the fundamentals for growth through its huge population, large land mass and opportunities for diversification.

He urged the government to make Nigeria inviting for investors by creating a vision for the country which will aid Nigeria’s economic identity.

He also called for tangible components which will safeguard investments in Nigeria such as better business policies, improved security system as well as efficient transportation system.

In his keynote address, the CEO, Nigerian Stock Exchange, Oscar Onyema said the need for the forum was timely and relevant as a result of the strong headwinds affecting the Nigerian economy.

Onyema noted that it has become imperative to get multifaceted views on how to overcome the persistent challenges in our economy.

Other panellists at the second NSE Bloomberg CEO round table were CEO, Nestle Nigeria, Dharnesh Gordhon; Executive Director, Chapel Hill Denham, Ayo Fashina; Africa and Middle East Senior Economist, Bloomberg Intelligence, Mark Bohlund and Economist and Policy Analyst, Dr. Ogho Okiti; while Senior Banking Industry Expert, Bloomberg, Paul Wallace was the moderator.

The second NSE Bloomberg CEO round table was also attended by Chief Nike Akande, President, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry; Executive Director, Market Operations and Technology, NSE, Ade Bajomo, Head Market Structure Strategy, MEA, Bloomberg, Selloua Chakri and others.

The NSE Blooomberg CEO roundtable is focused on discussing timely issues that will aid the Nigerian economy, and the white paper will be submitted to Nigeria’s policy makers.

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