Report: 2020 Nelson Mandela Day Webinar on Friday, 17th July

Theme: Financial Inclusion and Wealth Creation: Pre-constructing Empowerment and poverty eradication.

Mr. Daniel Nwaeze welcomed all participants at 11.00am and stated that the United Nations Association of Nigeria (UNAN) in collaboration with Youth Be Inspired Initiative and support of the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) was organizing a webinar to mark the 2020 Nelson Mandela Day which falls due on Saturday 18th July.

He reminded participants that Nelson Mandela was a champion of action against poverty and the day’s discussion was focused on this.

Comment by Mr. Ronald Kayanja (Director, UNIC, Lagos)

In his comment, the Director appreciated UNAN and the collaborators for organizing the webinar all in remembrance of Nelson Mandela whose anniversary falls due on 18th July. He expressed condolence to the family of Nelson Mandela on the recent death of Nelson Mandela’s daughter (Zindzi Mandela). She was serving as South Africa’s Ambassador to Denmark before her death. Mr. Kayanja stated that the UN Secretary General’s speech to mark the Nelson Mandela Day will be released on Saturday 18th July. However, it is expected that he will be addressing challenges on racism and inequalities. He noted that the COVID-19 has exposed more of inequalities within the Communities.

The topic of the day which is Financial Inclusion is key to poverty reduction. He also added that the UN SG will likely address issue of colonialism and digital evolution while he will be calling on all Governments and Civil Society Groups on need for new social contract after the COVID-19 pandemic. An example of area of concern is educational challenge whereby re-opening of educational facilities is still uncertain. From estimates, non-reopening of schools could lead to increased teenage pregnancies and other youth vices. He appreciated the appropriateness of the topic of discussion of the day on Financial Inclusion which will not only impact on Youths but the generality of the population.

Remarks by Ambassador Ayo Olukanni (D.G. NACCIMA)

The Ambassador started by appreciating the organizers of the day’s webinar for remembering celebration of Nelson Mandela Day even in the ongoing COVID-19 challenge. This is a reflection of the commitment of UNAN and others with support of UNIC. He stated that in line with the Theme for the UN@75, multilateralism is key in the world particularly in view of the ongoing health challenge. While exploring how to cope with the pandemic, it’s only the UN that can be relied upon and this brings to focus the work of World Health Organisation (WHO). He emphasized that inequality is very prominent and looking at the happenings in Nigeria currently with various financial expositions reflects why poverty is still prominent. In area of interventions by the Nigerian Federal Government, he confirmed positive action which is however rather too low and slow in disbursements to households and Small/Medium Enterprises (SMEs). He therefore called for identification of the funding supports by Governments and her agencies. While banking in rural areas of Nigeria is considered is rather low, he gave an example of effort of CBN in establishment of National Collateral Registry (NCR) which is a form of addressing financial inclusion. With this concept, moveable assets are used as collaterals in obtaining loans and support funds. There are lots of stimulus packages available and there is a plan to have 40% of such directed at Women owned businesses. He concluded by stating that NGOs like UNAN could identify areas of the funding supports by Governments and her agencies with a view to educating the populace. He also added that ALL should look out for the potentials of the agriculture sector which could be very beneficial for poverty reduction.

Panel Session:
Moderator: Boboye A. Olufemi (Managing Partner, Pelse Consulting)
Olalekan A. Sipasi (Agripreneur; Founder of ProtectOzone)

recommended the following:

1. We need a system that works and that put resources directly from the national treasury into the hands of rural farmers.

2. A financial inclusion plan for farmers exists and implemented but it is currently watered down hence needs improvement.

3. Leveraging on local and indigenous knowledge in agriculture in Africa to upgrade the supply value chain.

4. Farmers and agricultural stakeholders need to leverage on technology.

5. Agriculture must move from small holder farmer’s subsistence occupation to real time business with global reach through ICT in the age of globalization and

6. Farming is no longer for the old people, young people must be equipped and get involved in farming.

Femi Balogun (Researcher, Evaluation Consultant and Policy Analyst, Jobbernman)
recommended the following:
1. We need to expand our understanding of poverty, players of financial inclusion and wealth creation.

2. We need to rethink Nigeria’s education curriculum at the national level to meet the future of work
3. Government need to invest in technology needed to continue and support education at all levels.

4. Interventions around education need to be bold and audacious.

5. Developing Partners, NGOs and CSOs working in the education sector need to improvise on how to get education to more people in this era.

6. We need to invest in skills development and entrepreneurship education, with incentives for entrepreneurs to be set up.

7. Young people need to develop skills while in Institutions of learning.

8. We need to pay attention to provision of health care for young people and

9. An integrated approach towards curriculum development between government and private partnership will help in empowering youths to have employability skills.

Daniel Chukwuazawom (Financial Analyst and Consultant, Chief Internal Auditor MRS Oil & Gas)
recommended the following:

1. Financial inclusion is possible but will require some element of discipline.

2. There is a need to look at and encourage financial literacy/discipline on the part of the recipients (SMEs).

3. Lack of financial literacy has contributed to failure of SMEs, there is need to take measures to increase their financial literacy.

4. SMEs need to seek for consultants for partnership or advice that can help them survive and access funding.

5. SMEs should ensure they know and effectively deploy proper monitoring and evaluation mechanism in their finances.

6. Government will need to establish key performance indices which should be monitored and reported on the various interventions.

Olamide Olatunbosun (Creative Director, Ninos Treasure)
recommended the following:

1. To improve the skills of artisans, there is a need to have appropriate data.

2. We need to put a lot of structure and system into artisan learning such that we can also benefit and add to the socio-economic growth of the economy.

3. We need initiatives and training that can help triple down knowledge, information and sharing mechanism to the different spheres of the economy. Example is business apprenticeship training for youths.

4. The government should come up with initiatives that can help sustain businesses in the rural areas and extend beyond the urban areas.

Break Out Session:
A break out session consisting of 4/5 participants lasted for about 10 minutes and it was to have networking amongst the participants. Each Group was to come up with key recommendations on the discussion of the day.

As at the point of break out session, up to seventy (70) participants joined the webinar. Participants were made up of Students, NGOs and Civil Society Groups.

Closing/Vote of Thanks
While Daniel Nwaeze summarized the discussion of the day, Engr. Ganiyu Owolabi (Secretary General, UNAN) said a vote of thanks at 1.00pm.

Engr. Ganiyu Owolabi