There can be no stronger way to tell Nigeria and its government that while its population is growing at a run-away rate, the pace at which the government itself works is abysmally slow. More children are born in Nigeria daily than in the whole of Europe but the economy is growing at a sluggish .55%. Time, Time is of essence, John Rice, Vice Chairman of the global infrastructure giant, GE repeatedly told Vice President Yemi Osinbajo both of whom were on the opening panel at the just ended 23rd Nigerian economic summit in Abuja. Rice should know. His company and Nigeria’s government have been engaged in seemingly endless negotiation to agree terms for the concession of the country’s decrepit railway network.
Yet another disheartening news. A whooping 6% of the world’s one billion poor live in Nigeria and unsurprisingly, Nigeria leads among sub-Sahara Africa’s youth population seeking economic haven in Europe.
Many in Nigeria, and even some in the government just cannot come around to accepting an old truth – that Nigeria is not a rich country despite its significant natural resource endowment. While South Africa’s revenue service, SARS collected a total of N25trn in federal revenues last year, Nigeria the so-called giant collected just N5trn.
China has numerous reasons for hating the combustion engine, and a huge incentive to hasten its demise. They are dirty, accounting for what the government says is about 30 per cent of the country’s choking air pollution; contribute massively to its oil imports, which Beijing sees as a major strategic vulnerability; and highlight a shortcoming that has been a chronic flaw in the domestic car industry — China is bad at manufacturing them. Last month Beijing gave the global movement to eradicate the combustion engine a sizeable boost. Alongside a number of European countries that have proposed bans on traditional fuel vehicles to be brought in between 2025 and 2040, Beijing has said it is studying the timing of a similar move against petrol and diesel cars.
Nigeria and South Africa, the two economies which contribute more than half of sub-Saharan Africa’s gross domestic product will be pillars for expanded economic growth in the region next year according to economists polled by Reuters. The poll taken last week showed Nigeria’s economy, Africa’s biggest, will grow 2.4 percent in 2018, up from 0.8 percent this year while South Africa, the continent’s most industrialized economy, is expected to grow 1.2 percent in 2018 compared to 0.7 percent this year.