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?