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IHS Africa has commissioned a study that attempts to fill a gap in the scholarship on the country’s thriving economy. The recently released report, conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit, looks at the tight-knit network of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) currently driving Nigeria’s remarkable economic development. With the help of financial funding from IHS Africa, the work carried out for this report has identified a series of key areas where swift government action would give SME entrepreneurs the boost they need and significantly decrease the difficulty of carrying out business operations in the region.
Implementing the necessary changes is of vital importance, not in the least because 90% of all business being conducted in Nigeria is carried out in the SME sector. The IHS Africa study identified five key productivity areas, in addition to associated challenges that are preventing the sector from reaching its full potential. The report also includes a series of recommendations on how to create a fertile terrain for business development. This report is only a small step on what looks to be a long road, but it will certainly not be the last and IHS Africa and the ICT solutions they offer will play an important part in facilitating the process of change.
One of the most important conclusions to be drawn from the IHS Africa report is the fact that the five categories where progress was monitored (policy, ICT, infrastructure, energy and finance) do not exist independently from one another. For example, deficiencies in adequate transportation facilities have had an impact on the proliferation of telecommunication solutions. Therefore, the onus of reform does not rest squarely on one of the participants (government, banks, the SMEs themselves) and any actions should not fail to take this complex web of interconnectedness into account.