Poverty is a major problem in Nigeria. Looking at it top-down, it is the root of all evil that affects us as a nation. Think about it!
According to the latest report by the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics NBS on Poverty and Inequality in Nigeria, Nigeria’s poverty rate currently stands at 40.1%. To put that in proper perspective, 80.2 million Nigerians live below N137,000 naira (roughly $361) annually, which is about the price of a mid-range HP laptop. Drastic right!
For a very long time, our government has always looked at the wrong places to find a solution to this endemic poverty in Nigeria. They do this by borrowing funds externally and spending them excessively on infrastructural development. Subsequently, they service those debts and then repeat the process. No economy is developed via infrastructural development from debt alone. You don’t borrow a loan to build an office for your business, without developing the business that will repay that loan, right!
According to a Survey on Nigeria SME by PWC, there are over 41.5 million Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises MSMEs in Nigeria. The SME sector alone contributes 48% to our national GDP, accounts for 96% of businesses, and 84% of Employment. The SME sector is the backbone of major developed economies, and it is quite obvious that it’s the same in Nigeria.
Alvaro Cuervo, Domingo Ribeiro, and Salvador Roig in their Book ‘’Entrepreneurship: Concepts, Theory, and Perspective’’ stated that the creation of a country’s wealth and dynamism depends upon the competitiveness of its firms and this, in turn, relies fundamentally on the capabilities of its entrepreneurs and managers.
It is clear from the stories of third-world countries that have experienced development over the years like China, India, Japan, Singapore, UAE, etc that entrepreneurship is very essential to a nation’s economic development.
There we have it the key to economic prosperity in Nigeria is Entrepreneurship. Nigeria with over half of its population below the age of 30 has a very young population that can be harnessed through Youth Entrepreneurship to promote economic prosperity in the nation.
It is however very saddening that despite the significant contribution of this sector to the economy, there are still a lot of hindrances preventing the growth and development of this sector.
However, it is time to help ourselves as youths by being intentional about acquiring the entrepreneurial skills that we need to innovatively solve the problems facing the SME sector, in order to promote the growth of that sector and enable economic prosperity in Nigeria with or without Government support.
I will demystify some myths about entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial skills in the next post, entrepreneurship is not about starting a business only, it is a lot more than that.