Nigeria: most powerful African lion by 2050

What will be the diplomatic and political consequences?

The BRICS AND BEYOND report of emerging giants in 2007 by Goldman Sachs, an investment bank, predicts Nigeria as the leading African by 2050. 

Nigeria's rise is nothing less than stellar, with its GDP projection following:

2006:  US$121bn
2020:  US$306bn
2035   US$1,083bn
2050:  US$4,640bn. 

The West African lion is forecast to rise from a 2006 global rank in the mid 40s to the 11th biggest economy on the planet by 2050. And Africa's biggest economy by then.  

Nigeria's projected success may in fact be surpassed, for in 2007 Goldman predicted this country would achieve a 2010 GDP of US$158bn. In the event, the World Factbook quotes a 2010 figure of US$217bn. So, Nigeria's economy is expanding even faster than even Goldman predicted when Brics and Beyond was published five years ago.

Per capital GDP in Nigeria last year stood at US$1,389. By comparison, the IMF reckons 2010 per capita nominal GDPs of selected countries were as follows:  
  • Norway US$84,444
  • Australia US$55,590
  • United States US$47,284
  • Germany US$40,631
  • United Kingdom US$36,120
  • New Zealand US$32,145
  • South Korea US$20,591
  • Saudi Arabia US$16,996
  • Poland US$12,300 
  • Brazil US$10,816
  • Russia US$10,437
  • Malaysia US$8,423
  • South Africa US$7,158
  • China US$4,382
  • Philippines US$2,007
  • India US$1,265. 
By 2050, Nigeria's per capita GDP is set to reach US$13,014, about the same productivity/general living standard today as either Croatia or Hungary.  

However, there are just so many Nigerians, it's massively populated with already 155m. This number should rise to 289m by 2050, according to The Economist

Will Nigeria be awarded a permanent seat on the UN Security Council by 2050? If is has not, I think it's likely to be pressing for one.  Its diplomatic and political clout will be huge in 39 years' time, if its economy really has reached those levels by then. Already, Nigeria is viewed generally as a key economy in Africa. If not, THE place with which to do business.  

The generals have gone, coups are a thing of the past, and newly-elected President Goodluck Jonathan has the unenviable and arduous task of holding this large, fragmented and culturally diverse nation together. Corruption has to be eradicated, the rival ethnicities have to think of nation first, tribe and/or religion second.  Not an easy job. 

The Islamic north voted for a rival candidate and religious tensions spill over into church burning and ethnic cleansing exercises.  The Islamic fundementalist terrorists of Boko Haram have to be subdued and overcome.  

Oil-related pollution in the Niger Delta needs to be cleaned up and compensation awarded.  And  the people need to return to an effective educational system (which once existed) to enable more to participate in the growing economy.  Too many languish in poverty right now: all must contribute and benefit in future.

The intelligence, business acumen and innovative skills of Nigerians is never in doubt.  But these have to be redirected from fraud, deception and northern demands for a Sharia  theocratic Islamic state, into productive and inclusive endeavour.  

It seems Goldman Sachs believe that - given a fair wind, effective governance and well-directed investment - their projections will hold fast. But the task might be impossible given divisions.

So much work to do, yet many good people to do it. It might prove to be feasible. But whether it's likely, only the next thirty-nine years will tell. As Boko Haram step up their murderous Jihadist campaign, it could be less far than thirty nine years before this outcome is known.

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1 comment:

  1. This scenario has been repeated a number of times in Africa albeit at different economic strata. All have floundered on the rocks of fragmented agendas. Perhaps the sheer momentum of this economy will drive Nigeria through somehow?