Muhammad Sanusi ii (foreword to export architecture road map by bala yesufu)
At independence in 1960, Nigeria was the 40th richest nation in the world. Agriculture was then the mainstay of the economy that was basically export oriented. The country was either the world’s leading producer of one crop or the second in another. For instance, Nigeria was the number one producer of palm produce (palm kernel and palm oil); the largest producer of groundnuts, and the second leading producer of cocoa, after Ghana.
The gradual and then total abandonment of agriculture, for the new-found gold mine—oil—meant that the country, hitherto a leading exporter of several agricultural products, became a mono product economy, exporting only oil. With that development came the virtual shutting down of the entire non-oil sector of the economy, with dire consequences, as events in later years would show.
The neglect of agriculture, a sector with the potential of meeting the country’s food and foreign exchange needs, by successive administrations in Nigeria, was encouraged by the relative ease, speed, and above all, high income yield from oil. But like everything else in life that is ephemeral, including life itself, oil boom was not going to last forever.
Necessity is the mother of invention. The vagaries of the international oil market, which have seen Nigeria go in and out of recession, have brought about a compelling need to look beyond oil for the country’s economic sustenance. The changing dynamics of world trade have necessitated a return to the non-oil sector that was once the country’s economic bedrock. So also, correspondingly speaking, is the imperative of a more critical look and greater involvement in export. For if Nigeria is to avoid being left stranded long after the train of global industrialization and economic development had left the nation, there must be a paradigm shift, from importation to exportation. There must be a change of mindset, from consumption of imported goods to locally manufactured or produced ones, not only for the domestic market, but also for export.
Many have argued that the country’s declining fortunes from oil is a blessing in disguise. I couldn’t agree more. It is an incontrovertible fact that Nigeria’s quest for industrial growth cannot be achieved without diversification of the economy. Non-oil exports hold the ace in this regard. We have a lot of products that are in high demand outside the country.
But lack of knowledge of how to succeed in export trade has prevented many of our businessmen from exploiting the opportunities that this presents. Happily and most recently, both the federal and state governments have bought into this line of thinking. Efforts in both the public and private sectors are not geared towards meeting local demand in all sectors and also going beyond the shores of Nigeria for the purpose of creating more streams of foreign exchange earnings. The good time beckons for non-oil export.
Exporting is the way to go and Africa offers a lot of opportunities for discerning entrepreneurs. It is my conviction that Africa remains the world’s best kept secret when it comes to the attractive returns on investment.
A lot has changed in the last five decades or so, from the time Nigeria was a major player in world trade. At the time the country’s economy was export-dependent, there was no technology. Time and space needed to be factored into export business for achievement of desired objectives. Now the story is different. Technology has since moved the world from where it was in the 1960s and 1970s. With just a click on the Internet, export business can be signed, sealed and delivered.
This book, Export Architecture Road Map: The Nigerian and Global Perspective, has come at a most critical period of Nigeria’s economic history. With attention now focused on local production and export, a book such as this is what governments at all levels, as well as institutions, organizations and individuals with eyes on export business need to be able to navigate the murky waters of international trade.
The book is written from a global perspective, but within the Nigerian context, and is meant to serve as a guide for export business management, particularly non-oil export. It reflects the hands-on experience of the author in non-oil export management.
It is against this background that I must commend Chief (Alh.) Bala Yesufu for writing this book, which is coming at a time the Nigerian government is exploring ways of increasing the contributions of the non-oil sector of the economy.
The book is a compendium of the robust and practical experience of the author in non-oil export business management, which has seen him hold strategic positions in sales and marketing, corporate and government affairs, general management and export operations, over a period spanning 35 years. Given his experience, he is eminently qualified to be considered and authority in non-oil export business management. –Muhammadu Sanusi II, Emir of Kano, Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria (2009-2014). August, 2018
What Bala Yesufu says about his book:
“The need for foreign exchange must not be the primary objective for exportation. If that, it means paying scanty attention to quality. The international market is swamped with products of the highest quality. Exportation of poor quality products does not only damage the reputation of the exporter, it also rubs off negatively on the image of the country of export in addition to low off-take in the market, and may close the door to export from that country. For, it is not difficult to draw the conclusion that there is no guarantee of good quality for any other product from that country, if one product has been found not meet standards…In this book, the reader is able to understand, on a general note, how to draw up an export plan; why export is critical to the survival of organizations, at the corporate level and countries, at the national level. It looks at how the fortunes of nations have significantly changed through exports. It also take the reader through such critical factors as investing in export business and the requirements for becoming a successful exporter; competition in the international market, including cloning and counterfeiting, as well as creation of wealth from export. The importance of time and adequate information in export management is also highlighted.”