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FEATURES, Government

Economic expert, Dr Ayodele Shittu, Department of Economics, University of Lagos, have called on Nigerian Government to prioritize domestic resource mobilization to consolidate the gains of economic diversification in the country.

 

Speaking at the recent World Stage Economic Virtual Summit, he commended the role of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP: 2017 – 2020) in Nigeria’s quest for a diversified national economy. He recommended that Nigeria should rethink its investments in infrastructure and technological progress. “From the perspective of a developing country, infrastructure should include both physical and human. By implication, it is expedient to investment more in public education and health in the same manner that we are investing heavily in the construction of roads and rail across the country.”

 

According to him, it is also important that we control our development space. “One notable advantage of the resource mobilization perspective is the fact that it encourages inward solutions to revenue demands. This limits the extent to which a sovereign nation such as Nigeria depends on other sovereign nations. By implication, when Nigeria owns its development space, it will give room to home-grown solutions that matches and fits with emerging challenges that are peculiar to Nigerians.”

 

He added that “drawing from the resource mobilization perspective, reduced dependence on foreign capital inflows means reduced debt burden or reduced commitments to internationally written contracts, which in most cases deplete our national savings. By implication, a control of our policy space implies conscious development of our investment destinations, creating of home-grown industries that are value-chain driven, and finally, there will be more job creation opportunities for Nigeria’s teeming youth populace.”

 

He spoke on the need to promote resilient and productive investments in the country. “In order to consolidate Nigeria’s economic diversification drive, it is important to reconsider the nation’s investment drive. My choice of starting with investment is borne out of the desire to correct lingering misconception that economic diversification is the same as investments in infrastructure. I must commend the effort of the Federal Government of Nigeria for the resilience and vigour committed to the construction of roads and rails across the country. However, is this all that defines infrastructure? In a lay man’s language, any service or system that facilitates smooth and efficient operation is an infrastructure. Thus, the first step towards consolidating Nigeria’s economic diversification is to promote resilient and productive investments in infrastructure (i.e physical and intellectual) and in technological progress. There are three important gains associated with resilient and productive investments namely improved private sector participation, scale up and growth prospects for small business, and effective diversification of the economic base of the country.”

 

He also called on government to shift away from over-dependence on natural assets.  “Over the years, attempts to depend less on natural assets inherent within the Nigerian economy have remained futile. This can be traced to ease with which revenue is generated from the export of natural resource – mainly crude-oil and solid minerals. The revenue, which has over the years become a lucrative source of foreign earnings, is also fast becoming a source of economic pain for the country. While Nigeria’s economy is the biggest in Africa by GDP, we are simply a small country at the global market because our country cannot influence not determine the selling prices of the natural assets that we ship abroad. Besides, persistent export of natural assets exposes our economy to external shocks just as we experienced in the mid-2014 and the first quarter of the Y2020. In order for us to consolidate economic diversification in our country, now is the time for depend less on the export of our natural assets. Instead, we need to commit to the identification and development of value-chains inherent in these assets. If this can be achieved, the implications on manufacturing, employment, and poverty reduction are enormous.”

 

On ownership of Nigeria’s development agenda, he explained that “The ERGP, which is designed to last for four years, has made a significant impact by taking Nigeria back unto the growth path. However, there are other development agenda that requires the support of the Nigerian government. It is important to note that Nigeria is neither an island nor can it survive in isolation. These Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) and Africa’s Agenda 2063 are two global development agenda that needs to be domesticated in our country. For Nigerians to own their development agenda, citizens’ participation must be encouraged in the planning, design, implementation, monitoring, and assessment processes. A bottom-up approach is usually preferred and public goods that emanate from such development strides will be properly managed at the community levels. Above all, when Nigerian owns the development process, it stimulates the intellectual assets of the country.”

 

“A commitment to resilient and productive investment in infrastructure and technological progress; to depend less on exports of natural assets, and to take ownership of development agenda in the country is a commitment to deepening economic diversification and promoting economic independence of the Nigerian state. Another benefit of promoting domestic mobilization of resources is enhanced fiscal consolidation. This will not only foster strong fiscal capabilities among the state and local government across the country, it will also entrench improved revenue and public spending management in Nigeria. Consequently, accountability, transparency, and equity will form the basis of executing economic activities in the country” he said.

 

On COVID-19 Pandemic and Consolidation of Economic Diversification in Nigeria he suggested that “There is an urgent need for us to reduce our dependence on external sources of financing. This does not connote abandoning external sources of financing 100 pct. rather, it implies that it is high time Nigeria government began to look inward, develop home-grown industries, and create noble and decent job opportunities for all.”

 

“There is an urgent need to secure our policy space. The ERGP is a testimony of what Nigerians are capable of doing. The more we appreciate our won intellectual assets, the better us because innovation and technological know-how will be home-grown. This paves way for less importation of technology and consequently, local innovation ecosystem will be developed across the nation.”

 

“There is an urgent need to control our development agenda. The shock that came with the COVID-19 pandemic was so rude that it exposed the deficiencies that have characterized the nation’s health and educational system. If we own on development agenda, research and development will be driven by local needs and our innovations will be tailored towards solving problems that are peculiar to Nigerians.”

 

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Entertainment, FEATURES, M-I-NA AMBASSADOR

Our Made-In-Nigeria Ambassador of the Week, Genevieve Nnaj (born 3 May 1979) is a Nigerian actress, producer, and director. She won the Africa Movie Academy Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role in 2005, making her the first actor to win the award. In 2011, she was honoured as a Member of the Order of the Federal Republic by the Nigerian government for her contribution to Nollywood. Her directorial debut movie, Lionheart, is the first Netflix Original from Nigeria, and first Nigerian submission for the Oscars.

Nnaji was born in Mbaise, Imo State, Nigeria, and grew up in Lagos. She attended Methodist Girls College (Yaba, Lagos), before transferring to the University of Lagos, where she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in creative arts.

Nnaji started her acting career as a child actor in the then-popular television soap opera Ripples at the age of 8. In 1998, at the age of 19, she was introduced into the growing Nigerian film industry with the movie Most Wanted. Her subsequent movies include Last Party, Mark of the Beast, and Ijele. In 2010, she starred in the award-winning film Ijé: The Journey. She has starred in over 200 Nollywood movies.

In 2004, Nnaji signed a recording contract with EKB Records, a Ghanaian record label, and released her debut album One Logologo Line. It is a mix of R&B, Hip-Hop, and Urban music. In 2004, Genevieve Nnaji was with the most votes after contending with other celebrities for the search for the face of Lux in 2004.

In 2005, she won the Africa Movie Academy Award (AMAA) for Best Actress in a Leading Role, becoming the first actor to win the award.

As of 2009, Nnaji was one of the best-paid female actors in Nollywood. Due to her contributions to the Nigerian movie industry, she became the first actor to be awarded Best Actress at the 2001 City Peoples Awards, the award ceremony that previously had only recognized politicians and business conglomerates. She was also the first actor to be awarded as Best Actress by the Censors Board of Nigeria in 2003. In 2009, she was referred to as the Julia Roberts of Africa by Oprah Winfrey.

In November 2015, Nnaji produced her first movie called Road to Yesterday, later winning Best Movie Overall-West Africa at the 2016 Africa Magic Viewers Choice Awards.

On 7 September 2018, her directorial debut Lionheart was acquired by online streaming service Netflix, making it the first Netflix original film from Nigeria. The movie had its world premiere at the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival, alongside Farming, the Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje’s autobiographical directorial debut where she starred in alongside Kate Beckinsale, Damson Idris, and Gugu Mbatha-Raw.

Genevieve Nnaji is a very strong girl and women activist. She advocates for Nigerian girls to be able to have a say in who they choose to marry. She is against early marriages for the girl child. She is strongly against abuse of women in society. Genevieve says she is a strong advocate for social justice. Further, Genevieve Nnaji is a strong feminist. She states her type of feminism is the woman who has the right to make her own choices and do whatever she feels like.

Nnaji has featured in several commercials, include for Pronto (beverage) and Omo detergent. In 2004, she became the “Face of Lux” in Nigeria in a highly lucrative sponsorship deal. In 2008, Nnaji launched the clothing line “St. Genevieve”, which donates its proceeds to charity. In May 2010, she was appointed to be the official “Face of MUD” in Nigeria.

Nnaji has received several awards and nominations for her work, including the Best Actress of the Year Award at the 2001 City People Awards and the Best Actress in a Leading Role Award at the 2005 Africa Movie Academy Awards.

In 2019, her movie, Lionheart (2018 film), was selected by the Nigerian Oscars Selection Committee (NOSC), as Nigeria’s submission to the Best International Feature Film Category of the 2020 Oscars. It was the first film ever submitted to the Oscars by Nigeria.

 

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FEATURES, M-I-NA AMBASSADOR

At MINA-Online, as part of our Advocacy for Made-In-Nigeria, we will be profiling some exemplary Nigerians as our Ambassador of the week. The idea is to celebrate our living Ambassadors, projecting the best of Nigeria to the world. We understand that the world is readily available to report our negatives, we must make a conscious effort to project our positives to the world.

 

Our Made-In-Nigeria Ambassador for the week, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala (born 13 June 1954) is a Nigerian-born economist and international development, expert. She sits on the Boards of Standard Chartered Bank, Twitter, Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI), and the African Risk Capacity (ARC).

 

Previously, Okonjo-Iweala spent a 25-year career at the World Bank as a development economist, scaling the ranks to the Number 2 position of Managing Director, Operations (2007-2011). She also served two terms as Finance Minister of Nigeria (2003-2006, 2011-2015) under the leadership of President Olusegun Obasanjo and President Goodluck Jonathan respectively.

Okonjo-Iweala was born in Ogwashi-Ukwu, Delta State, Nigeria where her father Professor Chukwuka Okonjo is the Eze (King) from the Obahai Royal Family of Ogwashi-Ukwu.

 

Okonjo-Iweala was educated at Queen’s School, Enugu, St. Anne’s School, Molete, Ibadan, and the International School Ibadan. She arrived in the US in 1973 as a teenager to study at Harvard University, graduating magna cum laude with an AB in Economics in 1976.

 

 In 1981, she earned her Ph.D. in regional economics and development from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) with a thesis titled Credit policy, rural financial markets, and Nigeria’s agricultural development. She received an International Fellowship from the American Association of University Women (AAUW), that supported her doctoral studies.

She is married to Dr. Ikemba Iweala, a neurosurgeon. They have four children – one daughter, Onyinye Iweala (AB, MD, Ph.D., Harvard) and three sons, Uzodinma Iweala (AB, Harvard, MD, Columbia), Okechukwu Iweala (AB, Harvard) and Uchechi Iweala (AB, MD, MBA, Harvard).

 

A distinguished career woman, Okonjo-Iweala had a 25-year career at the World Bank in Washington DC as a development economist, rising to the No. 2 position of Managing Director. As Managing Director, she had oversight responsibility for the World Bank’s $81 billion operational portfolios in Africa, South Asia, Europe, and Central Asia. Okonjo-Iweala spearheaded several World Bank initiatives to assist low-income countries during the 2008 & 2009, food crises, and later during the financial crisis. In 2010, she was Chair of the IDA replenishment, the World Bank’s successful drive to raise $49.3 billion in grants and low-interest credit for the poorest countries in the world. During her time at the World Bank, she was also a member of the Commission on Effective Development Cooperation with Africa, which was set up by Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen of Denmark, and held meetings between April and October 2008.

Her career in Government:

Okonjo-Iweala served twice as Nigeria’s Finance Minister and also as Minister of Foreign Affairs. She was the first female to hold both positions. During her first term as Minister of Finance under President Olusegun Obasanjo’s Administration, she spearheaded negotiations with the Paris Club that led to the wiping out of US$30 billion of Nigeria’s debt, including the outright cancellation of US$18 billion. In 2003 she led efforts to improve Nigeria’s macroeconomic management including the implementation of an oil-price based fiscal rule where revenues accruing above a reference benchmark oil price were saved in a special account, The Excess Crude Account” which helped to reduce macroeconomic volatility.

 

She also introduced the practice of publishing each state’s monthly financial allocation from the Federal Government of Nigeria in the newspapers. This action went a long way in increasing transparency in governance. With the support of the World Bank and the IMF to the Federal Government of Nigeria, she helped build an electronic financial management platform—the Government Integrated Financial Management and Information System (GIFMIS), including the Treasury Single Account (TSA) and the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS), helping to curtail corruption in the process. As of 31 December 2014, the IPPIS platform had eliminated 62,893 ghost workers from the system and saved the Nigerian government about $1.25 billion in the process.

 

Okonjo-Iweala was also instrumental in helping Nigeria obtain its first-ever sovereign credit rating (of BB minus) from Fitch Ratings and Standard & Poors in 2006.

Following her first term as Minister of Finance, she returned to the World Bank as a Managing Director in December 2007.

 

In 2011, Okonjo-Iweala was re-appointed as Minister of Finance in Nigeria with the expanded portfolio of the Coordinating Minister for the Economy by President Goodluck Jonathan. Her legacy includes strengthening Nigeria’s public financial systems and stimulating the housing sector with the establishment of the Nigerian Mortgage Refinance Corporation (NMRC). She also empowered Nigeria’s women and youth with the Growing Girls and Women in Nigeria Programme (GWIN); a gender-responsive budgeting system, and the highly acclaimed Youth Enterprise with Innovation program (YouWIN); to support entrepreneurs, that created thousands of jobs.

 

This program has been evaluated by the World Bank as one of the most effective programs of its kind globally. Under her leadership, the National Bureau of Statistics carried out a re-basing exercise of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP); the first in 24 years, which saw Nigeria emerge as the largest economy in Africa. She took a lot of heat for the fuel subsidy removal policy by the Nigerian government, an action that led to protests in January 2012. In May 2016, the new Nigerian administration eventually removed the fuel subsidy after it became apparent that it was unsustainable and inefficient.

 

Later Career:

Okonjo-Iweala is co-Chair of the Global Commission for the Economy and Climate, with Nicholas Stern and Paul Polman. Previously, she served as the co-Chair of the Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation.

 

In the past, Okonjo-Iweala was also a member of the International Commission on Financing Global Education Opportunity (2015-2016), chaired by Gordon Brown; the Commission on the New Climate Economy (also co-Chaired by Paul Polman and Lord Nicholas Stern); the World Economic Forum Young Global Leaders Foundation; the United Nations’ Secretary General’s High-Level Panel on the Post-2015 Development Agenda (2012-2013); and the renowned Growth Commission (2006-2009), led by Nobel Prize winner Professor Michael Spence.

 

Okonjo-Iweala is the founder of Nigeria’s first indigenous opinion-research organization, NOI-Polls. She also founded the Center for the Study of Economies of Africa (C-SEA), a development research think tank based in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, and is a Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the Center for Global Development and the Brookings Institution.

 

In 2012, Okonjo-Iweala was a candidate for President of the World Bank, running against Dartmouth College President Jim Yong Kim; if elected, she would have been the organization’s first female president.

 

Since 2019, Okonjo-Iweala has been part of UNESCO’s International Commission on the Futures of Education, chaired by Sahle-Work Zewde. In 2020, the International Monetary Fund’s Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva appointed her to an external advisory group to provide input on policy challenges. Also in 2020, she was appointed by the African Union (AU) as a special envoy to solicit international support to help the continent deal with the economic impact of the 2019–20 coronavirus pandemic.

 

Awards:

Okonjo-Iweala has received numerous recognitions and awards. She has been listed as one of the 50 Greatest World Leaders (Fortune, 2015), the Top 100 Most Influential People in the World (TIME, 2014), the Top 100 Global Thinkers (Foreign Policy, 2011 and 2012), the Top 100 Most Powerful Women in the World (Forbes, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014),[citation needed] the Top 3 Most Powerful Women in Africa (Forbes, 2012), the Top 10 Most Influential Women in Africa (Forbes, 2011), the Top 100 Women in the World (The Guardian, 2011)[citation needed], the Top 150 Women in the World (Newsweek, 2011), the Top 100 most inspiring people in the World Delivering for Girls and Women (Women Deliver, 2011).[citation needed] She was listed among 73 brilliant business influencers in the world by Condé Nast International.

 

In 2019, Okonjo-Iweala was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She was also conferred High National Honours from the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire and the Republic of Liberia. She is also the recipient of Nigeria’s Commander of the Federal Republic (CFR)[citation needed]. Among others

Honorary degrees

 

Okonjo-Iweala has received honorary degrees from 14 universities worldwide, including some from the most prestigious colleges: the University of Pennsylvania (2013), Yale University (2015), Amherst College (2009) Trinity College, Dublin (2007)[66] Brown University (2006), Colby College (2007)., and Northern Caribbean University, Jamaica. She has also received degrees from a host of Nigerian universities including Abia State University, Delta State University, Abraka, Oduduwa University, Babcock University, and the Universities of Port Harcourt, Calabar, and Ife (Obafemi Awolowo). In 2019, Okonjo Iweala was awarded an honorary degree from Tel Aviv University.

 

@MINA-Online we celebrate our Made-In-Nigeria Ambassador of the Week, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.

 

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Entertainment, FEATURES, M-I-NA AMBASSADOR

 

At MINA-Online, as part of our Advocacy for Made-In-Nigeria, we will be profiling some great proudly Nigerians as our Ambassador of the week. The idea is to celebrate our living Ambassadors, projecting the best of Nigeria to the world. We understand that the world is readily available to report our negatives, we must make a conscious effort on our part to project your positives to the world.

Our Made-In-Nigeria Ambassador (M-I-NA) of the Week is no other than Innocent Ujah Idibia (born in Jos, Plateau State, Nigeria), known by his stage name 2Baba, is a Proudly Nigerian singer, songwriter, record producer, entrepreneur, philanthropist, humanitarian, and activist.

He is one of the most decorated and successful Afro pop artists in Africa and is also one of the most bankable performing music artistes in Africa. With over 2 decades in the industry, 2Baba remains influential in the Nigerian and global Entertainment space.

A serial award winner, 2Baba has received several awards that include; one MTV Europe Music Award, one World Music Award, five Headies Awards (Hip-hop award), four Channel O Music Video Awards and one BET award for his musical work, four MTV Africa Music Awards, one MOBO award, one KORA award, 3 Afrima Awards, and numerous additional nominations.

A true Made-In-Nigeria Ambassador, 2Baba has also been an ambassador for quite a number of brands including the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control.

2Baba established an NGO called the 2Baba Foundation, centered around nation-building, peaceful co-existence, and accountability in governance.

2Baba was a member of the Plantashun Boiz. He released his debut solo album Face 2 Face (2004), which established him as a viable solo artist after the disbandment of the Plantashun Boiz the same year.

Following the release of his debut album, he released his second album Grass 2 Grace in 2006, which contained hits “One Love”, “True Love, “4 Instance”. He is the founder of Hypertek Entertainment.

In 2006, his song “African Queen” was used in the soundtrack for the film Phat Girlz, which was released internationally.

In 2010, 2Baba released an “International Edition” under the title The Unstoppable International Edition making him the first Nigerian artist to have an appropriately priced international album. The international edition of the album won two awards at the 2010 SoundCity Music Video Awards. He also won the Channel O Music Video Awards Best African Western award and the MTV Africa Music Awards for Best Male and Artist of the year.

 He is part of the Sony All African One8 Project alongside seven other musicians across Africa recording a single with R. Kelly and Prince Lee titled “Hands Across the World”.

He is the first non-Liberian to become an honorary member of the Liberian music society in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the growth of music in Africa. He has been named Red cross ambassador society of Nigeria. 2Baba has several collaborations all over the globe, giving his collaborators the opportunity to win any awards for each duet such as street credibility by 9ice, possibility by p-square, and lots more. He is adored by his colleagues and every entertainer in the Nigerian music industry as a role model. 2Baba and heavyweight American Rapper Jay Z met in NYC 2014.

In 2009, he was presented with the prestigious International Youth Ambassador for Peace Summit and the Nigeria Youth Merit Award by the National Youth Council of Nigeria in recognition of his contributions to youth development in Nigeria.

In January 2017, 2Baba announced a partnership with United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). He made an initial donation of over US$11,000 to UNHCR for IDPs and returnees. In June 2017, he released a dedicated IDP-awareness song titled Hold My Hand to mark the World Refugee Day and promised 60 percent of the proceeds from the song to the IDP cause. He has also collaborated with other NGOs like The Nigerian RedCross Society, Enough is Enough (EiE)(Office of the Citizen campaign), Youngstars Foundation, and National Democratic Institute (for Vote Not Fight campaign).

In May 2016, 2Baba received an honorary Master of Arts in Music degree from Igbinedion University, Okada, Edo State, Nigeria.

In March 2019, he was awarded an honorary fellow of the school of music by the Music Department, Obafemi Awolowo University. This made him the pioneer recipient of the award which was presented to him at the first public lecture and fellowship award, held on the 20th of March 2019.

 

@MINA-Online we celebrate our  Made-in-Nigeria Ambassador of the Week Innocent Ujah Idibia ( 2Baba).

 

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