Unless Nigeria, the most populous country in Africa, experiences growth, development will continue to elude the continent, the World Bank has declared.
The bank’s new Vice President for African Region, Mr. Hafez Ghanem, made the declaration in Abuja yesterday when he visited the Nigerian Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, in Abuja.
Ghanem is a one- time Country Director of the bank in Nigeria.
“The mandate of the World Bank is to foster growth around the world.
That’s while as I assume duties as the new vice president of the African Region, after my former assignment as the Vice President in charge of the Middle East, I decided that Nigeria will be my first port of call to find out in what ways the World Bank can intervene to foster growth because you can’t talk of growth in Africa until Nigeria begins to grow, being the largest population on the continent,” he said.
Ghanem spoke with nostalgia on his experience as Nigeria country director of the Bretton Wood Institutions and described his visit as homecoming.
Adeosun told the visitor that so much, in terms of growth, had taken place in the country since he left some ten years ago, stressing that the current administration’s priority was on sustaining the trajectory.
According to her, one key area the Nigerian government seeks intervention is in the power sector reform to create more value chain ventures as electricity remains the cornerstone of growth drivers in the country.
“It was gratifying to learn from people in the ministry that worked with you in the past that you are a power expert.
Indeed, that is the area we need intervention, to create more value chain in the power sector reform to help us sustain the tempo of growth in the country,” Adeosun said.
Ghanem’s visit coincided with that of one of the world’s largest financial institutions, JP Morgan Chase to Abuja to share cybercrime prevention tips with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
The seminar was aimed at checking the growing criminality which has caused loss of over $600 billion worldwide.
At the one-day event which featured presentations by the JP Morgan Chase representatives on the latest cyber fraud trends, governance of cybercrime programmes and best practices on cybercrime security, the CBN Deputy Governor in charge of Financial Systems Stability, Mrs. Aishah Ahmad, said the experience sharing initiative was timely because of the dangerous dimension the menace was assuming globally.
“It is a fact that automation and technological innovations over the past decade have impacted almost every facet of human endeavor.
Technology has transformed the way we learn, communicate, deliver services, conduct financial transactions and even experience entertainment.
Also, continuing innovations such as robotics, artificial intelligence and block chains have potential for further disruption.
“However, these new conveniences of modern technology have ushered in complex security challenges and cybercrime.
These range from identity and intellectual property theft, phishing, email spamming and virus dissemination to sophisticated hacking and theft by digital crime syndicates.
These developments have led to a significant rise in the global cost of cybercrime.
McAfee and the Center for Strategic and International studies estimate this at over $600 billion in 2017, more than 20 per cent higher than the record in 2014,” she said.
The CBN chief noted that while many organisations were exposed to cybercrime, the financial sector was particularly vulnerable given its crucial role of intermediation in a highly connected global system.
“A recent study by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) estimated global annual losses from cyber-attacks may be close to 9 percent of banks net income or around $100 billion.
And in a severe scenario, where the frequency of attacks are twice as high as currently experienced and with greater contagion, losses could be as high as $350billion,” she stated.
According to Ahmad, the increasing cost, velocity and diversity of cyber-attacks has helped to elevate conversations about building robust defence systems to the forefront.
She expressed the CBN’s commitment to strengthening the regulatory and supervisory framework for cyber risk and encouraging realistic vulnerability testing and contingency planning for regulated institutions.