For Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to maintain global competitiveness, stakeholders have emphasized the necessity of greater access to markets, technology, and money. The speakers delivered their remarks at the Second Edition Business Roundtable of the Nigerian-Canadian Business Association (NCBA) held in Lagos on Tuesday.
The Nigerian-Canadian Business Association (NCBA) is a non-profit organization that seeks to foster economic ties between Nigeria and Canada. Established in 2012, the NCBA has become a vital platform for Nigerian and Canadian businesses to connect, collaborate, and explore opportunities for growth. Through its various programs and initiatives, the NCBA aims to facilitate trade, investment, and networking opportunities for its members, contributing to the overall economic development of both countries.
The NCBA’s Chairperson, Mrs. Ebi Obaro, declared that empowering SMEs on their road to success was the top priority today.This, she explained, was a recognition of their vital role in igniting innovation, creating jobs, and promoting prosperity in Nigerian and Canadian corporate environments. Obaro claimed that by taking care of these crucial elements, remarkable opportunities for expansion and sustainability would arise.
“We understand that SMEs face difficulties in obtaining the funds required for expansion and innovation so I invite us to share ideas on how we can jointly establish a system that makes it easier for SMEs to access capital. “Technology is drastically changing the future of business and holds a lot of potential for SMEs, so let us unlock access to technology and use its power to increase global competitiveness. “Our goal is to explore the many ways in which we can harness technology to improve efficiency and productivity of businesses in both Nigeria and Canada to increase global competitiveness,” she said.
In order to attract investment and promote economic progress, Franca Ciambella, a Canadian lawyer and businesswoman, stated that Nigeria needs to start projecting its economic potential and altering its unfavorable impression worldwide. Ciambella stated that there was still a lot of unfavorable attitude about Nigeria despite the fact that there was a great deal of curiosity about the country in Canada and how well Nigerians were doing there. She claims that this shows a lack of understanding of Nigeria’s actual potential, a nation rich in talented individuals, professional talent, and a large population.
“This is my acknowledgement that Nigeria is indeed a powerhouse particularly seeing that Nigerians in Canada are doing so well. “However, the country can achieve more, and a message has to be sent out that things are being done about energy, infrastructure, and other economic concerns,” she said.
Dr Chinyere Almona, the Director-General, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), noted that in spite of the opportunities for SMEs across Africa, they largely remained uncompetitive due to some harsh economic conditions. Almona, represented by Dr Sonnie Omeiza, Director, Trade Promotion Council, LCCI, called for policies, access to power, streamlined taxations to stimulate their growth and development. She, however, urged SMEs to be more prepared and properly positioned to take advantage of these policies to be better competitive under the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).