UNDP, FG Launch Roadmap for Inclusive Future
The federal government in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has launched the Imagine Nigeria report under a larger development framework that explores alternative pathways to further the country’s development.
The initiative is a bold and unfettered look into Nigeria’s future in the coming decades rather than a national plan comprising specified projects.
Speaking at the event, Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, said the Imagine Nigeria report is a bold, unblinkered, and exploration of the great possibilities of the country.
He stated that the project provided the licence to imagine a Nigeria freed of its past, “and current challenges and able to engage the future with the best possible tools in human and material capital.”
He added that the “ultimate objective was to answer the question of what would it take to transform Nigeria. It is a process of reflection and discussion by all Nigerians, especially young Nigerians on what the future of our country should look like.”
The report further explained that Nigerians can build a more inclusive and resilient nation, overcoming prevailing challenges facing Nigeria, such as the unprecedented impact of COVID-19, diminishing oil revenue, climate change, the rising cost of living, inequalities, poverty, and levels of insecurity among others.
According to the report, “Among many other African countries, Nigeria remains a major powerhouse with numerous unexplored or fully utilised prospects that citizens can harness for national transformation. The country’s sheer size and population make Nigeria one of Africa’s biggest markets and economies. Nigeria is also highly regarded by many in and outside of Africa and has been called upon numerously to lead in peacekeeping efforts regionally and internationally.
“The creative industry provides the country with unparalleled soft power while the Nigerian private sector, particularly the youth, is leading Africa’s innovation and technological revolution. Nigerian firms are expanding across the continent, and the country holds considerable potential to contribute to the realisation of the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).”
Speaking at the launch event, Mr. Mohamed Yahya, UNDP Resident Representative, stated that Nigeria’s reimagination is critical not only for the country but also for the African continent and the world.
He added, “Imagine Nigeria is about creating a shift for a new African agenda and development narrative. It calls on Nigeria to facilitate new forms of collaboration for the country and Africa so that the continent can take its well-deserved seat in the global arena while also providing a basis for the country’s transformation.
“A key recommendation from the series of conversations so far is the urgent need for structural transformation, economic diversification, and wealth creation, catalysed by the green economy. It is not just about going green; it is about global leadership and how Nigeria can help lead the world in a new direction. It is about building a new economy and forging new realities in which Nigeria is a global leader and the destination for investors working to solve African and global challenges.”
In his remarks, the Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Prince Agba, said: “The propositions presented through Imagine Nigeria are unique. They are borne out of discussions with a wide spectrum of Nigerians at home and in the diaspora. The research and technical team led by eminent people ensured that diverse ideas and perspectives of Nigerians in the context of the country’s shifting development outlook and emerging global trends form a baseline for continued conversations about how Nigeria can re-emerge from the current challenges and thrive. The task before us is to collectively create our desired future, with everyone leading and contributing from their respective corners towards the transformation of our great nation.”
Imagine Nigeria is a framework that aims to foster national dialogue inspired by future scenarios and recommendations from the consultative review as departure points to promote collective actions. As part of the framework, the report is not the end but the beginning of a process of national mobilisation. It provides Nigerians with tools to reflect and seize the opportunities occasioned by the rapidly changing world to create the desired future.