Matters Arising: Now That Nigeria is Africa’s Biggest Economy


I wrote a piece sometime last year, where I distinguished economic development and growth. For the layman, simply put, economic growth is that growth that occur on paper with or without a corresponding growth in the real world while economic development is the real thing we all, in the real life crave. It ranges from good roads, to stable power supply, to sense making salaries and what have you. The average Nigerian cares less what the GDP is or the investment potentials the finance minister says are available in the country – which is not meant to be. But why did we all develop this sort of rare interest in the GDP rebasing that placed Nigeria’s economy 1st in Africa and 26th from the previous 36th in the world? – Simple, because the world was talking about it and we don’t want to be left out [again]. I guess the significance of Economics as a discipline is gradually emerging in our so-called third world country.

Has the witches in our villages taken over the economy? How did we, in one night, move up from a low income economy to a medium income economy? How did we rise up from a $250Bn GDP to $520Bn in one night? How did we become Africa’s largest economy in less than 24 hours? Oh! I think I know. Nigeria has always been the largest economy in Africa just that our governments ‘refused’ to put it on paper as usual. Nigeria, previously a low income economy (which I suppose it has stopped being since over 20 years ago) has the tendency of attracting economic aids, debts reliefs and their likes just like every other low income economy would. International communities work around those statistics we have on paper, if you’re a low income economy, you’ll receive ‘free’ goodies. And of course, with our type of mentality, who doesn’t want free things? It’s like having resources to start a business, but because of laziness, you storm the street in tattered clothes to beg so outsiders can have ‘pity’ on you. Of course, they’ll give to you in the name of compassion – The government might call this wisdom, you can call it theft, I would also. Or why would a country wait 24 years to reveal the real status of its economy? In other to embezzle more, in other to enjoy more World Bank aids, in other to enjoy more IMF fundings, in other to..…  in other to. Ok, ok, let’s be fair, that is just one side to it, let’s just say the Nigerian governments have been playing smart with the rest of the world, and yes they succeeded in outsmarting them. To some extent, the free goodies helped.

But for this [Jonathan’s] administration, our status might have remained hidden forever – I don’t trust our folks in APC to reveal our true status if they were there. (And how come opposition aren’t saying anything about Nigeria being Africa’s largest economy?) Plus, at least, those outrageous World Bank stats will reduce now. Rebasing the GDP, shows the potentials we have as a nation, it tells the interested Nigerian what her country is capable of doing, it shows that we are ripe for good roads, constant power supply, sensible standard of living and every other thing that should make life better for a citizen. Now that we have been rebased, those aids will be reduced to the minimum. Abi? Who wants to give to a rich man? Do you? I don’t want to. It’s a wakeup call, a call to morework, smartwork, hardwork, workwork! Questions would get more intense. How come we are this rich and living poor? Comparison with other countries will trend like craze. How come SA, Africa’s second largest economy is better than ours? Do they each have two heads? Folks will be like: Enough of the Nigerian, IMF, World Bank stats, we want real growth, growth in terms of development, growth in cash, feasible growths, growths in our academic facilities (Haaa, I trust ASUU) and so on. *Whew* Jonathan is in some deep shit, he just has to deliver, he is choice less now. Change is on its way, it has started already, I believe… Now that Nigeria is Africa’s biggest economy, life will get better. Well, at least very soon.


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