NESG: Nigeria Needs $9trn Economy by 2050 to Attain Shared Prosperity

Dike Onwuamaeze

The immediate past Chairman of the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG), Mr. Asue Ighodalo, has tasked those entrusted with drafting the Nigeria Agenda 2050 to bequeath the country with an economy whose size would be between $4.5 trillion and $9 trillion in the next 25 years in order for the country to have shared prosperity.

Ighodalo also tasked them to come out with an agenda that would grow the country’s GDP at the rate of 15 per cent annually.

He gave these tasks in his valedictory speech at the just concluded 28th Nigerian Economic with the theme “Shared Prosperity: 2023 and Beyond.”

According to him, Nigeria must identify avenues to accelerate its growth, “over and beyond the ordinary, so we can consistently achieve a 15 per cent growth rate over the next 25 years.

“We absolutely must think through and articulate areas where each of our six geopolitical zones can be leading or significant global players in the world economy of 2050. The drafters of our National Agenda 2050 have their work cut out.” 

He added: “The Nigeria Agenda 2050, currently being drafted, proposes a time frame of about 25 years. This means we must recalibrate our visioning and work towards a specified target growth, by a specified date, benchmarking ourselves with the most prosperous countries in the world.

“I propose that, our specified target must be turning Nigeria into the most prosperous Black Country in the world, with a GDP per capita that is at par with the OECD countries, by 2050.”

Ighodalo stressed the need to encourage Nigeria and Nigerians to begin to think about economic development as clear objectively measurable goals.

 He said: If we took that kind of clear approach, it would mean – just based on today’s OECD indices that we would need to grow our GDP to somewhere between $4.5 trillion and $9 trillion depending on whether we are able to remain at a population of around 220 million or continue to grow to the 450 million we have been projected to reach by 2050.

“We would need to build an economy that is 10 to 20 times the $440 billion economy we have today within 25 years. We must then set ourselves a task of growing at over 15 per cent every year.”

The chairman of the NESG also said successful national turnarounds start first with addressing and fixing basic internal problems in order to set the country’s sights on externally driven growth possibilities.

He postulated that Nigeria should begin to appreciate the attainment of macroeconomic stability as the foundation of economic growth.  

He observed that Nigeria’s economic competitiveness is weak and stated that “we must, take active steps to multiply our productive output particularly in those areas that support foreign exchange earnings and enhance livelihoods.

“We must effectively address all areas of waste, leakage, theft or graft. Gas flaring, must stop.  Only a nation that does not take itself seriously will cry out year after year for power, but continue to fritter away a resource that can deliver that power,” he added.

Ighodalo also tasked Nigerians on ingenious ways of fixing and strengthening national and sub-national institutions by paying particular attention to “our civil service and judiciary and changing the attitude and temperament of those of us who work in these institutions.

“Simultaneously and most urgently, we must continue to tackle our national security issues with vigour, aggression and intelligent resource deployment.  A prosperous Nigeria cannot be created without decisively dealing with our security problems.”

He suggested that Nigeria should focus on infrastructure investments that directly power economic activity, like overhauling its deep seaports, which are gateways to trade, or building fully gas-powered special economic zones, whose return on investment is both linear and tangible. We must put in place policies and incentives that attract patient capital into our economy.

“We must also address the problem of unequal access to basic livelihood amenities like food, water, roads that foster micro activity and enable producers to get to markets, schools that deliver solid basic education without security concerns, and basic healthcare.

“Last but certainly not the least, we must start to seriously address, in a deliberate way, how to turn our vast manpower into competitive human capital, by bridging the knowledge deficits and skills gaps that will be required for an accelerated future.”

Ighodalo emphasised that creating and sharing prosperity in a manner that was fairly, equitably and justly must go hand in hand by rethinking and redesigning inclusion policies and programs to be prosperity enhancing.

He said these policies must result in productive contribution and full economic participation by all Nigerian states, and all able-bodied Nigerians, towards a prosperous Nigerian state.

He said: “Our programs must be aimed at leveling the playing field for traditionally excluded or disadvantaged groups: women, minorities and people living with disabilities.

“We must also institute programs that deliver protection and care for the truly unable who through no fault of their own are unable to make a decent living.

“This, ladies and gentlemen is how we must think about creating and sharing prosperity.”

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