Nigeria is a country blessed with sizable arable land, numerous natural resources that are evenly distributed, a favourable climatic condition that befriends seasonal agricultural production, and a teeming youth population. Sadly, despite the abundance the country enjoys, she still falls behind in terms of development in the comity of nations. Several administrations have come and gone so have various national development plans been rolled out, yet Nigeria has failed to join the elite club of developed countries. In this article, we’d be making suggestions on how Nigeria can become a developed country. Read on.
How Nigeria can become a developed country would be discussed below:
Diversification of the Economy
One of the attributes of developed countries is that their economies are diversified. With Nigeria’s economy dependent solely on the proceeds of oil, the foundation of the economy will continue to remain weakened and the pace of progress slowed. More so, the dependence on oil makes Nigeria vulnerable to sudden external shocks, for example, the global fall in oil prices.
For Nigeria to become a developed country, there’s an urgent need for the economy to be diversified. To achieve economic diversification in Nigeria, aside from oil, there should be an expansion of other sectors of the economy that contribute to production and employment. The agricultural sector and the manufacturing/industrial sector are examples of such economic sectors that are capable of contributing to gross domestic product diversification.
Another dimension of economic diversification Nigeria needs to focus on is associated with international trade or exports diversification. In addition to the two dimensions of economic diversification we’ve mentioned above, there is also fiscal diversification which deals with expanding government revenue sources and public expenditure targets. Fiscal diversification will help catalyze a broader transformation of the economy through the expansion of activity in specific industries and sectors.
Improvement of the Energy Sector
Another key area that if improved can catapult Nigeria to be among the comity of developed nations is the power sector. According to a 2020 report published by the Rural Electrification Agency (REA), almost 90 million people in Nigeria do not have access to grid electricity and the millions of those connected to the grid have less than 12 hours of electricity every day. The major reason for this energy shortage in Nigeria is that the available generated power falls short of the load demand.
With the dismal state of the Nigerian power sector, it wouldn’t be possible for Nigeria to be among the developed nations of the world. Poor electricity supply makes it extremely difficult to run a business in Nigeria, invariably affecting the GDP. According to a recent report by the World Bank, businesses in Nigeria suffer an annual loss of $29 billion as a result of an “unreliable” power supply.
For the Nigerian power sector to be revitalized and catapult Nigeria to become a developed country, the Federal government alone cannot fund the expansion, maintenance, and modernization of the power network in the country. Therefore, there should be practical relationships between the Federal government and other stakeholders, particularly the JV international oil companies and the Independent Power Producers (IPP) in funding the Nigerian power sector.
The other measures that improve the Nigerian power sector include solving the existent barriers in the gas-to-power value chain, planning for renewable energy integration, and boosting revenue collection to support DisCo viability.
Improvement of National Social Protection Systems
All the developed nations of the world have national social protection systems designed to boost human capital and empower individuals and families, especially the poor and vulnerable members of their population. Social protection systems are tools to help the poor and vulnerable population to cope with crises and shocks, find jobs, invest in health and education, and protect the ageing population.
Social protection systems when thoughtfully curated and implemented, as obtainable in developed countries, have powerful long-term impacts of reducing inequalities, building resilience and ending the inter-generational cycle of poverty. If Nigeria is to be among the comity of the developed countries of the world, the estimated 88.4 million people living in extreme poverty(as published by Statista in 2022), and 53.40% of unemployed youths (per the National Bureau of Statistics in 2022), should be catered for under social protection instruments, such as safety net programmes.
Although several social intervention programmes have been instituted in the past in Nigeria, such as the Family Economic Advancement Programme, Better Life for Rural Women, National Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy (NEEDS), Teach Nigeria, Homegrown School Feeding, etc., they have been faced with many challenges. Issues such as policy inconsistency, lack of funding, poorly designed social protection schemes, lack of accountability, issues of targeting, low coverage, and lack of data indicating who are the poor have impeded the delivery of social protection schemes in Nigeria.
Going forward, certain things have to be put in place for current and future social protection programmes in Nigeria to have the desired impact on those who need intervention. For social protection programmes in Nigeria to have a significant impact on beneficiaries, there should be capacity assessment, increased funding, legislation on social protection, information management, programme linkages, and adequate monitoring and evaluation.
Other Measures That Can Make Nigeria a Developed Country
Although the three measures we’ve explained above are proven tactics that can help catapult Nigeria to the League of the developed countries of the World, some other recommendations are useful in achieving this goal. Below are some additional recommendations to help Nigeria become a developed country:
- Improvement of the transportation sector
- Boosting public-private partnership
- Having good leadership at the forefront
- Increasing investment in education
- Increasing citizens’ access to housing
- The Nigerian justice system should promote the rule of law according to the provisions of the Constitution and other relevant laws of the land
- Strengthening of the Nigerian military
If the Nigerian government and other relevant stakeholders consistently focus on implementing these recommendations for as little as 40 years, the developmental indices of Nigeria would significantly improve and the country’s chances of being recognized as a developed country would be achievable.