“Africa is on the move, you better be in Nigeria, or you are not going to be relevant in the new economy. Nigeria is a massive economy”
- DOMINIC BARTON (GLOBAL MANAGING DIRECTOR, McKINSEY AND COMPANY)
“Nigeria’s peculiar challenge, coupled with spill over effects from globalization, has made our development case very complex, such that a one strategy -solution approach will produce more problems than the solution itself. We will therefore need a collection of practical, pragmatic solutions to resolving our challenge, of which only a visionary leadership and strong executive team can deliver”.
GOSPEL OBELE -21stCENTURY DEVELOPMENT ECONOMIST.
First it is imperative that I give us a hint to just two of the rising variables that poses a threat to our development, owing majorly to extractive institutions, weak governance, culture, reactive growth strategies and poor execution.
Nigeria’s population as at October 2014,was estimated as 173.8million, and is expected to rise to over 270million by 2030.
The Africa report states that one-third of all babies born in the world by 2030, will be in Africa. With this, the expected population in Lagos Nigeria alone is estimated as 39million by 2050. This is a peculiar development challenge for Africa as it becomes inversely related with the projected population growth trends of the developed world.
It becomes more of a challenge because, by 2030, majority of the African and Nigerian populace would fall within the ages of 15 and 30, leading to high level urbanization. This offers us a strong consumer base of an average of 170million consumers.
With higher urbanization comes a host of other challenge: high traffic volumes, a need to diversify transportation networks, provision of formal and affordable housing, rise in cost of living, a rise in urban poverty, challenges with food security, and a host of others.
Recently Lagos (Nigeria’s commercial city), became top on the list of young-entry level consumers by 2025. More importantly, another rising challenge is, we would have to deal with the uneven spread of population growth, due to the current insecurity challenge, a high rural-urban migration and urban-urban migration.
In summary will be increased population, forcefully bringing urbanization to bear, with new challenges to conquer.
THE BIG DEV ELOPMENT QUESTION (BDQ)
With the growing population, how do we ensure urbanization leads to better affordable formal housing and enhances livelihood for Nigerians, and how do elections matter?
Human Capacity Development
Estimations have it that, Nigeria will be worth $1.6tillion in GDP by 2030. Mckinsey noted that, “productivity, not labour expansion has added to growth”.
Every year, 3million jobs must be created to employ those leaving education institutions. In the new economy, only skilled and intelligent workers ever get gainful employment or become successful employers of labour that drives our economy to shared growth.
This is a phenomenon our Nation has not taken seriously and failed to achieve. From the primary to tertiary levels, we have young people who seem dead in sanity, responsibility and productivity. This invariably makes them uncompetitive and at best join the informal sector (an already existing threat to growth and development) or take low labour capacity utilization jobs, just to enable them survive.
On the other hand, the new economy will then be propelled to import skilled labour to reduce cost of trainings by firms, making the “growing Nigerian economy” only powered by a few Nigerians and foreigners.
This is a huge threat to the economic empowerment needed to attain shared, wholesome and sustainable development in the new economy for Nigerians.
THE BIG DEVELOPMENT QUESTION (BDQ);
Despite failure in this regard, how do we educate and incorporate Nigerians, into the productivity cycle, considering the nature of urgency, and how do elections matter?
Truly Nigeria’s development case happens to be a peculiar one, with other variables, such as having the largest Christian to Muslim ratio in the world, coupled with over 250 ethnic groups. This creates a scenario, no nation has ever seen before. I believe our challenges are our own opportunities to come up with a unique and first of its kind HOME GROWN DEVELOPMENT MODEL, that will provide the template for other African Nations to run with, and add to the intellectual discourse on economic development globally.
Join me next time, as I discuss in details the BIG DEVELOPMENT QUESTIONS, and how elections matter. Cheers!