10 Years of Ad­vanc­ing Sus­tain­able De­vel­op­ment Agenda

Financial Nigeria Magazine - - The Fixes From The Managing Editor - +234 802 343 9098 jide@fi­nan­cial­nige­ria.com Twit­ter: @JSAk­in­tunde

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.

Thank you.

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