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Amidst the growing crackdown on internet fraudsters, popularly called Yahoo-yahoo boys in Nigeria, by the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC), the President/CEO, World Stage Limited, Segun Adeleye has advocated that the Government, in collaboration with the private sector, should set up innovation hubs, in all the Country’s 774 local government areas, and lure the youngsters there for them to make decent livings.

In his address at the WorldStage Economic Summit 2019, at the Event Centre, Nigerian Stock Exchange, Lagos, on Wednesday, the 13th of November, 2019. Adeleye said that the EFCC was victoriously announcing the arrest of hundreds of young internet fraudsters almost every day, and could only underline the ingenuity of the youngsters to explore opportunities thrown up by new technologies, though in a negative way.

“What this point at, is that if these energies are positively channelled, the nation will be on the path of technology advancement,” he said.

At the annual summit with the theme, Getting Nigeria Ready for the Challenges of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, Adeleye said that the Country lost out in the 1st, 2nd and 3rd industrial revolutions, and demanded that it should proactively leverage on emerging technologies to provide jobs for the teeming youth population.

According to the National Bureau of Statistics report, as of third quarter 2018, 55.4% of young people (15-34) were either underemployed or unemployed compared to 52.6% in the same period of 2017.

“We at the WorldStage Economic Summit believe that urgent preparation for and exploration of the unlimited opportunities in new technologies, will make a lot of difference, and put Nigeria at the driver seat of its destiny,” he said.

“The best we can hope for, through the Fourth Industrial Revolution is for the country to be positioned as a net producer of technology, rather than a dumping ground. This will take deliberate efforts to be discussed here today, rather than wishful thinking.”

On the state of Nigeria’s economy, he said, the highest point since WES 2018 was probably on 7th of July 2019, when President Muhammadu Buhari, signed the Agreement Establishing the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

The agreement seeks to create a single market for goods and services by facilitating free movement of goods, services and investment within the African Continent.

With the signing of this agreement, Nigeria, together with the other signatory States, have committed to a progressive elimination of import duties, and other non-tariff barriers, on imports within the African continent.

“It’s interesting to note, that Nigeria accounts for nearly 20% of continental GDP, and about 75% of the West African economy, with its exports to the rest of Africa estimated at mere 12.7%, and only 3.7% of total trade is within the ECOWAS,” he noted.

“The services sector, accounts for about half of Nigerian GDP, dwarfing the 10% from oil and 22% from agriculture. Real GDP growth was estimated at 1.9% in 2018, projected to grow by 2.3% in 2019 and 2.4% in 2020, as implementation of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan gains momentum.

“Despite the modest growth and government’s good intention, the growing rate of unemployment in the country should continue to give the Government, and the private sector sleepless nights.”

On the objectives of the WorldStage Economic Summit, he said it was conceived to address economic challenges through diagnoses and application of practicable solutions, with public and private sector engagement in a research and innovation driven platform, to inspire new thinking in business initiative, policy formulation/implementation, economic reform and development.

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