GE has unveiled the Nigeria Report of the 2018 GE Global Innovation Barometer. Titled “From Chaos to Confidence: Emerging Players, Emerging Technologies, Emerging Challenges,” the survey explores how Nigerian business leaders perceive the barriers to and opportunities for innovation in the country.

The Nigeria Report, which sampled 80 innovation business executives, was unveiled at a forum held at GE Nigeria’s headquarters as part of events celebrating GE being in Africa for over 120 years.

“Innovation and technology are fundamental for Africa to be able to compete in a global frame work. Localization is also important – innovation needs to be tailored to the specificities of local needs. We need to develop home-grown solutions for Africa.,” Farid Fezoua, President and CEO, GE Africa, said in his opening remarks at the event.

He added that training programs like the GE Lagos Garage, aimed at Nigerian entrepreneurs, helps support local innovation in the country.

The Nigeria Report is part of the Global Innovation Barometer that surveyed 2,090 business executives across 20 countries. This is the sixth edition of the survey since 2010.

One of the findings of the report, which was presented by Patricia Obozuwa, Chief Communications & Public Affairs Officer, GE Africa, shows that multinationals continue to take the lead in driving innovation, which conforms to the global narrative. Obozuwa stated that 36% of Nigerian business executives say multinationals drive innovation compared to the global figure of 23 per cent. Likewise, SMEs are also viewed as a key driver of innovation over-indexing against the global figure by 12 percentage points (Nigeria 23 per cent , Global 11 per cent).

Amongst other findings, the survey reveals that attitudes towards 3D printing are positive in Nigeria. Almost nine in ten business executives believe 3D printing will have a positive impact on businesses (88 per cent).

The results of the survey were further explored and discussed by a panel of experts which included Dr Akintoye Akindele, Partner, Synergy Capital Managers; Solape Hammond, Co-founder, Impact Hub; Thelma Ekiyor, Co-Founder & CEO, Afrigrants and Olumbe Akinkugbe, Director, Ondo State Information Technology Agency. The panel recommended several strategies to encourage SME innovation in Nigeria including close collaboration between the public and private sector.

In his key note speech, the Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu who was represented by the Secretary to State Government, Mrs. Folasade Jaji, said: “Through its activities, GE has supported economic growth in Africa within a period spanning over 120 years. It has also been a key partner in progress in Nigeria where it has operated for over four decades. We are delighted to note that GE is providing support that will enable us leverage on the emerging potentials of the 24/7 economy of Lagos mega city and a location of first choice for investors.”

Sanwo-Olu commended GE on the success of the GE Lagos Garage initiative which, he noted, has empowered young people through training and capacity building in areas of business development and advanced manufacturing-based technology enterprise, among other skills. “As our partner in progress, Lagos state government will continue to collaborate with you, especially in the critical areas of power and healthcare, as well as skills development” he added.

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