Nigeria’s Economic Summit 2016: Power and poor education are barriers to growth

Today, the Economist is organizing an economic summit to address the challenges facing the Nigerian economy. The country has been experiencing a lot more economic challenges ever since the Buhari administration emerged in May 2015. Themed “The Dawn of A New Day,” the 2-day event will hold at the Intercontinental Hotel, Lagos. In attendance will be government officials, industry, business leaders, international investors, economists and academics.

Attendees will include Alhaji Aliko Dangote, Nigeria’s Vice president Professor Yemi Osinbajo, The Economist’s Michael Oakes, Oando’s Adewale Tinubu, Access Bank’s Herbert Wigwe, Anambra state governor, Willie Obiano and several others.

For both days of the summit, the issues discussed will revolve around economic growth, the ease of doing business, economic diversification, technology, infrastructural development and global partnerships. During panel discussions, experts rendered their opinions on what will help the country surpass the current narrative on its economy.

However, the event is lacking in representatives of local traders, Nigerian youths and small business owners and several Nigerians have expressed grievances on the exclusion of these vital economic stakeholders.

As the Buhari administration has earlier indicated, economic diversification is a major exploratory sector for the government given the current fall in oil prices. Dangote is an avid supporter of economic diversification as he maintains the time to do so is now.

Following this, Nigeria’s minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Okechukwu Enelamah, said the country will benefit greatly from Agriculture and Solid minerals (that is when they start meeting directly with those who can facilitate the process of exploration).

However, power seems to be the most severe barrier to growth in the Nigerian economy. When put against reputation, security and foreign exchange policy, power topped the barriers. This is as a result of obvious reasons, more than 50 percent of Nigerians lack access to stable power supply, many businesses in the country survive mainly on fuel consuming generating sets.

In terms of technology, Nigeria has recorded laudable progress in advancing its technologies, however, indicators point to the fact that the digital sector still needs constant upgrade before it can begin improving the lives of Nigerians on a large scale. A 2016 report by the Economist is reflective of this school of thought. “While digital has clearly helped Nigeria’s economic diversification, its fruits are unevenly distributed. Large swathes of the population are struggling to access the benefits of digital technology in an affordable way, and national data on digital usage, when dis-aggregated by income levels and geographies,shows significant inequalities,” says the report.

While discussing education and the challenges facing the Nigerian education sector, the Borno state governor, Kashim Shettima, who is an agricultural economist, said public schools need to be revitalized. 

He also said his administration is focused on providing platforms for the empowerment of women and girls in the state, adding that there is a great disconnect between the leaders and the led in the country.

Below is a tweet showing the statistics of male children with no access to education in Nigeria’s 36 states.

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