Tough Choices

October 26, 2015

The 21st Nigerian Economic Summit focused on the tough choices needed to achieve competitiveness, inclusive growth and sustainability. We know that Nigeria is the largest economy in Africa and the 26th largest in the world. In spite of this size, it is increasingly clear that the country’s economy is not as competitive as others in the top tier and its growth is equally not as inclusive.

The World Economic Forum defines competitiveness “as the set of institutions, policies, and factors that determine the level of productivity of a country. The level of productivity, in turn, sets the level of prosperity that can be reached by an economy. The productivity level also determines the rates of return obtained by investments in an economy, which in turn are the fundamental drivers of its growth rates. In other words, a more competitive economy is one that is likely to grow faster over time. Although the productivity of a country determines its ability to sustain a high level of income, it is also one of the central determinants of its return on investment, which is one of the key factors explaining an economy’s growth potential.” The Forum also defines inclusive growth “as output growth that is sustained over decades, is broad-based across economic sectors, creates productive employment opportunities for a great majority of the country’s working age population, and reduces poverty.  Inclusive growth is about both the pace and pattern of economic growth”.

The current state of the Nigerian economy has underscored the urgent need to discuss our realities in competitiveness and inclusive growth at this time and the Nigerian Economic Summit Group brought stakeholders together in Abuja to do just that.

Even though the country moved up by three places in the 2015 – 2016 Global Competitiveness Index to 124 out of 140 (reversing its downward slide in 3 previous years, the country fell from 115 out of 144 in 2012 – 2013 to 120 out of 148 in 2013 – 2014 and further down to 127 out of 144 in 2014 -2015), it still ranks only 20 out of 32 countries in sub-Saharan Africa. This means that Nigeria merely ranks above Zimbabwe, Mali, Swaziland, Madagascar, Mozambique, Malawi, Burundi, Sierra Leone, Mauritania, Chad and Guinea – the last six are the last in the global rankings. The continent’s best performers remain South Africa (49), Rwanda (58) and Botswana (71). Rwanda continues its 5-year upward trend and improving in 7 out of 12 pillars. By the way, it might be worth recalling that the 12 pillars of competitiveness are institutions, infrastructure, macroeconomic environment, health and primary education, higher education and training, good market efficiency, labour market efficiency, financial market development, technological readiness, market size, business sophistication and innovation.
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"Nnanna Ude writes on national and global affairs, policy positioning and policy reforms. He has published articles on a wide range of issues. He is the Consultant to the Infrastructure Policy Commission of the Nigerian Economic Summit Group and has participated in the activities of NESG since 2001. He has also participated in some meetings of the World Economic Forum. He provided technical support to the Secretariat of Nigeria’s National Conference 2014. Nnanna is a member of the Board of a number of corporate organizations and policy think tanks."

1 Comment

    Ayobami Onakomaiya
    6 years ago October 26, 2015 / Reply

    I’m thrilled by these stats.
    These only pose more urgency of responsibility on our shoulders as part of the citizenry of this great economy.
    26th largest economy! Yet, no recognizable development???
    This is alarming.

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