Oil at $100 per barrel, an historic opportunity for Nigeria?

Later this week I will visit Nigeria for what will be my third visit. Personally, I’m fascinated with the place. It is the cultural and economic powerhouse of West Africa, a vibrant and optimistic people. There are some rather surprising connections between Nigeria and my home country of Ireland. Nigeria is the third largest export market for Guinness, the seminal Nigerian novel Things Fall Apart penned by Chinua Achebe is loosely based on WB Yeats’ The second Coming and the inspirational story of the Nigerian emigrant Rotimi Adebari who became Ireland and Portlaoise’s first black Mayor.

Over the past few years Nigeria has made significant progress in curbing corruption, reducing debt and generating economic growth more effectively from its petro dollars. There are still many challenges ahead and it cannot be an easy country to govern with current levels of poverty, low levels of economic & institutional development. Nigeria needs to continue it’s progress towards finally escaping the so called resource curse.

I have the opportunity to present at an Economist Intelligence Unit roundtable and these are the questions at hand:

Maintaining fiscal stability, boosting spending and pushing reform forward

  • Scaling up government spending in an era of high oil prices—is there a risk of sacrificing fiscal discipline and quality?
  • Boosting spending on infrastructure and poverty reduction: why this will help business
  • Reducing the size of the federal government and improving its ability to deliver—is this possible in Nigeria?
  • Controlling state spending and improving project implementation: what can the federal government achieve?

Over the past few months I have lurked around and/or participated in interesting blog posts on Africa & development made by people such as Thomas Otter, Dennis Howlett, Jeff Nolan, Michael Krigsman, Jason Busch, Soji Apampa, James Governor to name a few, all of whose opinions I respect very much.

So do please leave a comment or send me an email. How can the Nigerian government take best advantage of the historic $100 per barrel windfall to build and diversify their economy and secure peace? What would you do if you were the Nigerian President or Minister for Finance?



2 responses to “Oil at $100 per barrel, an historic opportunity for Nigeria?

  1. Pingback: James Governor’s Monkchips » links for 2008-01-07

  2. James

    I agree 419 is bad for brand Nigeria and it needs fixing. On the glass half empty side I would say it is damn hard to govern Nigeria and people are looking as much to government for the democracy dividend as they are for better rule of law. Government has to be seen to do both effectively.

    On the glass half full side I would say these 419’s are a sure fire sign of latent innovative and market development potential. The problem is is that Nigerian citizens have been long excluded for meaningfuol participation in global markets. What does it say about this country’s potential that they are early and innovative adopters of the internet as a means of wealth (albeit illict) creation. And let’s face it if the market isn’t working for you and you are living in an economically impoverished society – let’s just say the ethical threshold to 419 maybe lowered. That is not to condone it though.

    Question: assuming 419’s mean there is is latent potential here what should the Nigerian government and local entrepreneurs do to get into a global IT enabled market place. How can Nigeria leap frog development through the internet? What needs to happen in terms of education, policy, infrastructure etc.? What is the optimal conditions to create success?

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