By Maduabuchi Ubani
The Nigerian economy is currently in dire straits with major economic indicators looking grim due to increasing external shocks. The COVID-19 as well as the drop in crude oil prices, the country’s major source of revenue, indeed exposed Nigeria’s weak underbelly.
Crude oil represents over 80 per cent of Nigeria’s export revenue and a downturn in the market for the commodity always has a ripple effect on the economy.
Often, this shock has a pass-through effect on the foreign exchange market thereby leading to depreciation of the naira exchange rate and putting pressure on external reserves as seen in recent times.
Indeed, as predicted, due to these external shocks, Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for the second quarter of 2020 contracted by 6.1 per cent, which was the first negative growth since the first quarter of 2017.
This has been the trend globally due to the impact of the virus, as countries such as South Korea (-3.3%), Singapore (-41.2%), US (-9.5%), Germany (-10.1%), had earlier reported GDP contraction in Q2.
More worrisome is the projection that the country will plunge into a severe economic recession this year, the worst since the 1980s, according to the World Bank.
In fact, the World Bank has projected that the pandemic would push about five million more Nigerians into poverty this year, adding that while before the pandemic, the number of poor Nigerians was expected to increase by about two million largely due to population growth, the number would now increase by seven million.
Owing to the gloomy outlook, analysts at Comercio Partners noted that the impact of the pandemic and its unprecedented consequences has taught the global economy an important lesson on the need for brands to be innovative and agile.
They pointed out that the global economy is in an era of VUCA (Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity), adding that the uncertainty has been heightened by the destabilisation of financial markets, protracted ultra-low interest rates, and changes in international affairs.
An integral part of Comercio Partners is empathy. Guided by this commitment as a brand, the firm acknowledges the facts and realities occasioned by the current pandemic.
It pointed out that even though the full effect and duration of the COVID-19 pandemic is still unknown, though it appears to have peaked in certain countries, most countries are still in a constant state of flux.
The world continues to reel from the effect of the COVID 19 pandemic, which has created a new world order for businesses around the globe just as governments, brands and consumers are struggling to survive the deleterious effects of the virus.
But despite concerns in the global economy, the company’s Head Financial Advisory/Co-Managing Partner, Steve Osho, said: “We see a great future in Africa, occurrences such as the pandemic is a reminder of this assertion. We like the dream of the future better than the history of the past; our words, messages, actions, services, businesses further confirm our belief in Africa’s business ecosystem.”
On his part, Head of Trading/Co-Managing Partner, Nnamdi Nwizu, noted that, “the world as we know it changed over the last six months. Comercio Partners is ready to partner with you and lead you to the new tomorrow. Now more than ever, the current situation has made the market more dynamic. We, therefore, owe our clients, the obligation to provide innovative financial products, by investing in traditional and alternative asset classes in various geographies across currencies for our proprietary and client portfolios. We will leverage our broad array of strategic, international partnerships to expose our proprietary and client portfolios to assets in the international financial markets.
Similarly, the Head of Investments/Co-Managing Partner, Tosin Osunkoya, pointed out that, “leveraging our depth of resources to provide stability to your growing wealth and the right partnership to the financing demands to support your strategic business growth we remain your anchor to the future.”
According to Comercio Partners, “the impact and facts are starring at us in the face as the world slides into a global recession; the coronavirus pandemic is having devastating impacts across global market and wiping out trillions in asset value. Invariably, businesses are closing, people are losing income daily, families are being painfully separated by death, and life is taking a turn to what this generation has not experienced before.
“Admittedly, these are the facts, but are they the truth? The long age question of seeing the water in the cup as being half empty or half full comes to mind at this point. Let us delve a little bit more between truth and fact.
“The animals who survived the apocalypse are not the strongest, they are the ones that are able to adapt, they are able to separate fact from truth, they are the
ones who were able to unlearn, relearn, forecast and took a stand for survival.”
The firm expressed optimism that if the world survived the First World War, survived the Spanish flu and the Second World War and other ‘socio-economic pandemics,’ it would also overcome the Covid-19.
“As an organisation, a collection of people, beliefs, and mindset; as a brand, we have studied, unlearned, relearned and we quite seriously, acknowledge the facts and realities occasioned by this pandemic. We acknowledge that the situation will change and reshape a lot of things, we also, quite convincingly, know that a fact is transient while the truth is constant.
“The truth is that we irreversibly believe in the sheer audacity of hope that exist particularly in Africa, hope that authenticated by the possibilities and potentials that pervade Africa’s business landscape. We hold so strongly to this truth at Comercio Partners to the extent that it has inspired us to reinforce and re-emphasize our philosophy, our processes, and to reposition our brand as one that sees a greater future ahead of Africa especially in the financial services eco-system.
“Moving forward, our words, messages, actions, services, businesses will confirm our belief in Africa’s business eco-system. In making decisions in life, you will not only face the limits of time and imperfect knowledge, but the existence of multiple, complex and often conflicting goals. You will also face inner conflict of emotion, attitudes, and beliefs.
“We have seen all of that during this pandemic with various conspiracy theories flying around from 5G to G7conspiracy but the search for the truth is ours and only ours to solve,” the firm added.