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Economic growth, a tool to outgrow poverty, says expert

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Economic growth is the most powerful tool for reducing poverty and improving the quality of life in developing countries especially Nigeria.

Indeed, one of the major challenges of the 21st Century is the need to reduce poverty levels and economic inequality globally.

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These were the words of Head, Strategic Partnerships, Microsoft 4Afrika, Soromfe Uzomah while speaking to journalists in Lagos.

Uzomah said there is a connection between the levels of poverty, hunger, and economic well-being of a society and the general condition of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Nigeria.

According to him, in most developing and developed economies, over 90 per cent of SMEs improve the employment rate.

The World Bank’s Poverty and Inequality Report finds that “More equal countries tend to have healthier people, be more economically efficient, and have greater social stability than highly unequal countries. And countries that invest smartly in reducing inequality today are likely to see more sustained economic growth than those that don’t invest. Less inequality can benefit the vast majority of the world’s population.”

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However, Uzomah said emerging markets are often defined by marked levels of economic inequality, and while governments have a responsibility to try to close the income gap, SMEs can have a profound impact in ensuring economic growth as reflected by gross domestic product (GDP) growth.

Uzomah said it’s estimated that 600 million jobs will be needed by 2030, to absorb the growing global workforce, which makes SME development a high priority for many governments. In emerging markets, most formal jobs are generated by SMEs, which create seven out of 10 jobs.

He said governments and regulators can do much to ease onerous legislative and regulatory requirements, and facilitate the positive contributions of SMEs towards economic growth.

In his words: “If we are genuine in our desire to see the economies of the African continent grow and strengthen, then we must work with the intent of helping SMEs overcome the challenges they face. In doing so, levels of inequality and income disparity can be reduced.”

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