10 Years of Advancing Sustainable Development Agenda
When is the right time to start a business? Is it during an economic downturn or in a period of boom? Quite unlike rookie investors or most entrepreneurs starting their first business, professional investors are always very calculating. They analyse the macro and micro economic variables and ensure they support decent financial returns on their investment.
Financial Nigeria magazine debuted in August 2008 as a monthly development and finance journal. At that time, the contagious effects of the global financial crisis had begun to expose the mismanagement of the mono-product, oil-based Nigerian economy. The ripple effect of the spectacular oil price collapse that began a month before we launched had thrusted the banks into a credit crisis and capital inadequacy. It was certainly not the most auspicious of times to start any new business, much less a magazine.
But our passion to deliver new value in the media marketplace ensured we looked beyond the inclement business climate. I am glad we started Financial Nigeria at the time we did. Our understanding is that the agenda we wanted to address and the values we wanted to espouse were important and pressing.
A combination of factors has, however, continued to endanger journalism and the print media in Nigeria over the last decade. Most concerning would be the collapse of media ethics. For instance, many journalists work for their publishers but have to rely on their news sources to earn regular income.
We also have the disruption of social media. And it appears there is nothing the traditional media can do about it. In the undeclared contest for attention, wellreasoned opinions in the newspapers and magazines are losing the competition against tweets and Facebook comments posted on the go using mobile phones. Social media is also lending credence to “fake news” – which might be news we don’t like, a media organisation as an entity, quite apart from the unfounded stories.
This has launched the society into the era of post-truth and alternative facts, where opinions gain the upper hand against knowledge; and truth – like beauty – is in the eyes of the beholder. We can see already that the real fake news and the ill-considered opinions are lethal weapons against societal cohesion and sustainability.
On this August occasion of Financial Nigeria’s 10th anniversary, we would like to enjoin the stakeholders to reject this departure as the new normal and embrace the frameworks to restore societal value and order.
The last 10 years have been, unsurprisingly, challenging. Quite apart from when Financial Nigeria has struggled to maintain business continuity, our values of independence and patriotism have been challenged. From our politically-neutral standpoint, our analyses are usually brutally honest. But political neutrality and honesty don’t always win you friends in the politically-charged government and business environment of Nigeria. But we will remain objective, honest and prioritise the collective progress of the country.
The need to support advocacy for sustainable development was the reason we started this magazine 10 years ago. I remember easily that the main feature of our debut issue was “Agenda for Sustainable Banking”. We wanted to propagate modern solutions to age-old problems.
Sustainable development is an agenda the world ought to have started to address a long time before this still-new millennium, which began with the launch of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) as a global agenda. The MDGs have now given way for the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
For far too long, policymakers and business leaders have focused on short-term gains, while hoping that these gains would endure over the longer-term and everybody would be safe and happy. But without deliberate thoughts to ensure the conduct of business – including the business of government: policymaking – was in harmony with a good future society and the environment, we have continued to experience boom and bust and the earth has become too warm for safety or comfort.
We wanted to regularly discuss this subject with policymakers and business executives. That we are still in this business after 10 years attests to the interest of our readers in preserving the ecosystem of people, business and the environment.
Financial Nigeria also regularly addresses broader issues of governance, geopolitics, economics, technology and finance to ensure our readers are roundly in touch with cutting-edge ideas across both the developing and developed world. The discussions have turned the magazine into the platform we now also avail leaders in government and business to project their institutional value through our feature interviews.
About two years into publishing the magazine, some prospective clients and well-wishers started to advise that we change the title of the magazine to something like “Financial Africa” or a geographically-neutral title. They felt the publication had a greater chance of success without the Nigeria identification, especially given its expansive editorial coverage and production quality.
But we disagreed for two reasons. It was our intention to make Financial Nigeria a proudly-Nigerian publication. This is precisely the reason we invest continuously in good contents and glossy production. We were persuaded that Nigeria deserves the best promotion. For the country to deliver its best to the citizens, we believe the corporate and individual citizens must first give our best for our country.
We were also convinced that Nigeria identification is good for business. Nigeria is the largest economy and the biggest market by population in Africa. Moreover, we were aware that the “African” periodicals, mostly published from outside the continent, were majorly kept afloat by Nigerian patronage. So, we are very grateful to our country for ensuring that we remain a viable publication.
We owe our success to our readers. They have been the steadiest of our pillars of support. We have as part of our readership individual and institutional subscribers who have renewed their subscriptions for nine years. We like to express our appreciation to them and all our subscribers.
We are also thankful for the support of our advertisers and sponsors of the Nigeria Development and Finance Forum (NDFF), the conference arm of Financial Nigeria that has organised the colloquium with the theme “Nigeria’s Sustainable Development Agenda” to celebrate our 10th anniversary. We expect this event will proffer cogent ideas for policies and marketplace practices that will address the country’s priority and most impactful development needs.