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Economic Growth in NigeriaNigeria boasts a population of more than 200 million people who are religiously diverse and rapidly growing. The country houses the largest economy on the African continent. It depends heavily on oil production and oil exports, which comprise 80% of its national revenue. In 2015, the Nigerian economy grew at half the rate of the previous decade due to the global oil price recession. The government acknowledges the necessity of a comprehensive plan for sustainable economic growth in Nigeria.

President Buhari

Despite the Human Rights Watch’s claims of human rights abuses, fighting between the government and terrorist group, Boko Haram, as well corruption both within the government and the oil industry, Nigeria is a rapidly growing and dynamic nation. In 2015, a peaceful transfer of power from incumbent Goodluck Jonathan to Muhammadu Buhari took place after a competitive election. President Buhari is a former military head of state and has made vows to improve the living standards of Nigerians. Furthermore, he wants to fight corruption and boost the economy both through the oil industry and outside of it.

Diversifying and Boosting Nigeria’s Economy

A report put out by the International Finance Corporation and the World Bank found that private sector growth strategies could help Nigeria by attracting outside investment and creating more quality jobs for millions of its citizens. The report states that this strategy will require better policy frameworks and reforms to support sectors outside of the oil industry. Nigeria has pledged to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty by 2030, which is becoming increasingly challenging with the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. This report highlights a hopeful investment strategy that can help foster economic growth in Nigeria.

Nigeria experienced 11 straight quarters of GDP growth since its recession ended, but growth has stalled given the COVID-19 pandemic. President Buhari has set out to diversify the nation’s economic strategy and has focused on agriculture to achieve the poverty reduction goal. In addition to the agricultural industry, President Buhari has sought to revamp the cotton, tactile and garment industry. Furthermore, the nation has focused its efforts on increasing non-oil exports such as cocoa and sesame seeds. Revenue from these exports grew by $79.4 million and $153 million respectively. These examples serve to show the promise of diversifying and strengthening the Nigerian economy amid unstable times.

The Potential of Agriculture

President Buhari met with the Presidential Economic Advisory Council (PEAC) and stated that his administration is committed to implementing “rapid, sustained, sustainable and inclusive economic growth.” President Buhari focused again on agriculture-based strategies and the utilization of more land throughout the country. Nigeria currently only irrigates about 2% of its land, indicating significant room for agricultural development. Buhari says that raising agricultural productivity is vital to address the disparities between regions and “ensure macro-economic stability.”

The PEAC has pledged to help Nigeria with an approach to eradicating poverty that will be multi-dimensional, focusing on aspects such as access to housing, health, education and employment. President Buhari vowed his commitment to reducing poverty in Nigeria but collaboration from all levels will ensure a comprehensive and effective national response.

Tatiana Nelson
Photo: Flickr

Democracy in Nigeria
After 20 years, Democracy in Nigeria remains true to its goals of sustaining a strong political authority for socioeconomic growth. Home to Africa’s largest economy, 65 percent of Nigeria’s wealth derives from its oil and gas production. The country itself continues to recover from a recession in 2016. However, it also suffers from its recent unemployment rate increasing to 23.1 percent in 2017. A study from the World Data Lab revealed that an estimated 90 million Nigerian people continue to live in poverty.

Government Efforts to Reduce the Wealth Gap

Fortunately, the Nigerian government’s implementation of the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill seeks to change these conditions. The bill functions as an investment to promote Nigeria as a future leader in the oil production industry. Research from the International Monetary Fund indicates that between 2019 and 2020 Nigeria’s economy should grow by at least 2.2 percent.

Amid strides towards economic development, many Nigerian people find it hard to put their trust into newly-elected leaders. After gaining independence from the British in 1960, Nigeria’s government endured corruption from previous leaders that led to polarization both politically and economically.

Nigerian legislators earn the most globally, with salaries starting at $48 million a year for senators. With the average Nigerian salary at $1,294, most Nigerians feel disconnected from their leaders because of this wealth gap. In most cases, optimal advocacy for Nigerian citizens translates to decentralizing power to more local government representatives. Consequently, this would ensure more groups of people receive equal access to policy implementation. The decentralization of government in Nigeria corresponding with democracy in Nigeria elevates the power of the population.

Reelection of President Buhari

The current democratic government, known as the Fourth Republic, attempts to restore hope to the Nigerian people. In February 2019, Nigeria re-elected its President, Muhammadu Buhari, for a second term. Only 28 million of the 80 million registered voters in Nigeria voted in the election. The majority of the four million votes that allowed President Buhari to win the election emerged from his popularity with the poor population in the north.

Democracy in Nigeria succeeds in giving a voice to the voiceless, as opposed to utilizing mass poverty to exclude impoverished people from the political process. In the end, the essence of democracy encompasses a nation that can elect its own representatives.

The National Democratic Institute (NDI) helps to:

  • Establish civic organizations.
  • Strengthen political leadership.
  • Promote accountability and openness in governments around the world.

For over 35 years, NDI has partnered with more than 156 countries to advance democratic progress globally. By getting citizens to recognize elections as a fundamental human right, the NDI strengthens the political power of that country, which solidifies the idea of accountable democratic governance. The NDI also understands the importance of inclusion in policymaking and works to increase democratic participation from marginalized groups by addressing laws that target them.

As a result of this organization, Nigerians with visual impairments had the opportunity to vote for the first time in the 2019 election. Democracy in Nigeria exemplifies that growing global efforts to impose effective societal change starts with a government that truly reflects and endorses the interest of its citizens.

– Nia Coleman
Photo: Flickr