Nigeria’s attempts at economic development since independence had been managed largely by the military, which governed for the greater part of the years of her existence as an independent country. The performance of the military was ineffective, resulting in stunted economic growth and a harsh operating environment which was neither conducive to private investment nor to sustainable economic development. Against the background of declining economic fortunes, it became obvious that unless urgent measures in the context of a national vision were put in place, Nigeria would never be able to realise her full potential.
Shortly after he was appointed Chairman of the Transitional Council in January 1993, Chief Ernest Shonekan convened the first Nigerian Economic Summit (NES #1) in February 1993. The Summit brought together key managers from the private sector and senior government officials for a three day discourse on how to tackle Nigeria’s economic problems.
The success of the first Summit and the sudden realisation that it was possible for the private sector to cooperate and dialogue with the public sector led to a wider participation in later Summits. Subsequently, a core group of participants from the first Summit developed a more formalised private sector structure, which formed the basis of the present NESG. The NESG was incorporated in 1996 as a company limited by guarantee