Founder, Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc, Atedo Peterside, said Nigeria may not do well as an industrial economy if its manufacturing is not competitive.

He urged the country to accept and properly harness its reality of being a soft power, through technology and its creative sector, to scale up its cultural influence in the global space.

Speaking on the economic and political outlook of the country at the maiden edition of the Future Leaders Network (FLN) Conference in Lagos, Peterside said: “The structure of our economy is changing all the time, yet people want to tell our government that the economy is about agriculture and manufacturing. That’s not true, Nigeria is most likely on the path to becoming a soft power. For instance, ICT was the only sector that grew double digits last year.

“Let us accept that in the 21st century, there are many other activities that look like they could end up transforming Nigeria. In America, the West Coast is more like soft power. I give credit to our musicians, Nollywood and fashion designers because not everyone can be a soft power.”

He harped on the need for savings, especially for people with a desire to start capital-intensive firms, adding that success is a combination of the right people and structures.

“Build credibility as an individual. Start small so that you can make small mistakes and learn from them, if you start big, the mistakes might be too big to come out of,” Peterside said.

Co-founder, FLN, Tobe Rapu, said the conference was borne out of a need for change, especially regarding issues about leadership.

“We believe that Nigeria should have a drive for change and the people to drive that change are the young people. That is why we have brought people together to talk about social, economic and political reforms”, he said.

Chief Executive Officer, Graeme Blaque Group, Zeal Akaraiwe, said that corruption is the evidence of the rot in a system and that it can be reversed with a clear purpose.