Lai Si Oko: Diversifying Our Economy
Written by Morenike Adebayo on November 2, 2017
Known to many as the giant of Africa, Nigeria is well known for her vast natural resources. From the tropical fields of the South to the arid regions of the North, we are blessed with an abundance of industrial possibilities. Nigeria’s territorial features are so diverse that virtually all tropical and semitropical crops can be grown here, according to Encyclopedia of the Nations. Unfortunately, however, most of this nascent wealth remains unrealized.
Nigeria’s vast resources have notoriously proven ineffective in promoting stable economic growth. Nigeria is one of the most widely cited examples of the resource curse, a paradox in which countries with vast natural resources have poorer economic development than those with fewer resources.
Nigeria’s incongruous lack of wealth can partially be attributed to poor governance and corruption, but it is mostly due to the lack of diversity in the Nigerian economy. The case of Nigeria is largely one of unrealized potential, which can be ameliorated by expanding the number of industries in Nigeria’s economic sphere.
According to Focus Africa, the agriculture sector accounts for thirty-one point two percent of Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product. Another large sector is the petroleum sector, which contributes twenty-eight point seven percent of Nigeria’s GDP. This means that over fifty-nine percent of what we produce as a country comes from oil and agriculture, while other sectors remain underdeveloped. The fact that over half of our national production comes from only two sectors is alarming and highly problematic. As a nation, we are far too dependent on our oil and our farms.
Although farming is an indispensable aspect of rural Nigerian life, it alone will not prove enough to bolster long-term economic growth. The oil and gas industry is even less sufficient in the long term, as petroleum is an exhaustible resource. Indeed, at some point, our oil wells will run dry and our country will be left to thrive off of all other sectors.
Furthermore, a resource-dependent economy is also more problematic in the short term, as it is more vulnerable to global economic volatility. For all these reasons, it is necessary that Nigeria develops all her sectors, in particular, those currently dominated by foreign companies and multinational corporations.
By diversifying our economy, we will create more jobs, bring in more national revenue, and secure ourselves against future economic uncertainty. Indeed, we must diversify the Nigerian economy to include the areas of construction, telecommunication, and hospitality, to name a few.
If the hopes of creating a secure and prosperous future are to be realized, Nigeria must first diversify her economy. Then and only then shall we see our great country finally realise its full potential and live up to its reputation as the giant of Africa. May God Bless the people of our beloved Country, Nigeria.
Funmilayo Adetokubo A-A, is a political and International Affairs Analyst, based in Somerset, England, United Kingdom.