At the 78th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), President Bola Tinubu unveiled the National Talent Export Programme (NATEP), a strategic move to bolster Nigeria’s foreign exchange income.
Represented by Dr. Doris Uzoka-Anite, the Minister of Industry, Trade, and Investment, President Tinubu launched NATEP with the aim of positioning Nigeria as a talent outsourcing export hub in Africa, taking inspiration from countries like India, Bangladesh, Mexico, and The Philippines.
The grand launch of NATEP unfolded at the Microsoft Office in New York on September 22, 2023. An array of dignitaries from multilateral organizations and global tech giants graced the occasion, including Dr. Bosun Tijani from the Ministry of Communications Innovation and Digital Economy, Saadia Zahidi from the World Economic Forum, and John G. Coumantaros, Chairman of the US-Nigeria Business Council.
Among the attendees were industry leaders like Dr. Floriezelle Liser, President and Chief Executive of the Corporate Council on Africa, Amal Hassan, Chief Executive of Outsource Global, and Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, Director-General of the National Information Technology Development Agency.
In her opening remarks on behalf of President Tinubu, Dr. Uzoka-Anite emphasized that NATEP would serve as a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) to establish Nigeria as a global powerhouse for service exports, talent sourcing, and talent exports. This groundbreaking initiative will address the unique challenges of the talent and service export industry while prioritizing competitiveness, innovation, and sustainable growth through service trade.
Minister Uzoka-Anite highlighted NATEP as a key component of President Tinubu’s job creation agenda.
The NATEP initiative will target the creation of 1 million in-demand jobs across Nigeria, over a 5-year period.
“This initiative will do three things for us as a country. One, it will create millions of jobs for our young people over the next 5 years and beyond. Secondly, it will bring in foreign exchange that our economy needs through remittances from talents that will be exported abroad and those that will be living in Nigeria and working remotely for organisations outside Nigeria and thirdly, it will generate huge tax income for state governments,” the minister said.
In her goodwill message, the Managing Director of the World Economic Forum, Saadia Zahidi, said NATEP is a timely initiative to address the very important areas of skills and jobs for Nigeria and the world.
She stated that the WEF looks forward to partnering with Nigeria on the programme.
“This is an important programme that is coming at the right time. We at WEF stand ready to work with the Nigerian government on this great initiative.”
The Minister of Communications, Innovation and Digital Economy, Dr. Bosun Tijani, who praised her counterpart for spearheading the NATEP initiative, said his ministry would collaborate and support the programme to ensure it delivers on the set objectives.
Dr. Tijani explained the importance of talents and in-demand workforce as critical part of the global economic structure, saying such is the reason why leading countries across the world are intentional about attracting and retaining top talents.
Other speakers at the event also acknowledged how auspicious and ambitious NATEP is as a national initiative capable of changing the economic fortunes of Nigeria just like India that attracts over $300 billion annually from talents export. The speakers commended the Federal Government on the laudable initiative and gave their commitment towards supporting the programme.
A panel discussion that took place during the event was moderated by the National Coordinator of NATEP, with Amal Hassan, Ola Williams and Adaora Ikenze serving as panelists.
The panel discussion attracted a lot of positive feedback from the participants and elicited their commitment to working together to support the NATEP initiative.
The event ended with the unveiling of the NATEP logo with the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment indicating to the world that Nigeria is ready to become a global hub for talent exports.