2023: From economic disaster to phenomenal recovery – Chris Uwaje

2023: From economic disaster to phenomenal recovery – Chris Uwaje

The above title to this writeup involving 2023 simply may be misinterpreted by some of my esteem readers but is simply translates into no other narrative than: “From ashes to monument”.

Indeed, there is no hiding place to deny the fact that Nigeria has witnessed perhaps a misplaced; blindfolded and/or a deliberate economic development disaster in the past seven years. Some blame the COVID-19 pandemic as the dare devil responsible for the ubiquitous fall from grace to grass. But alas, the Nigeria State promises to be energized in her emerging development trajectory – come 2023!

The possibilities of gathering the ashes and building an amazing monument out of it looks very promising. Accomplishing the mission represents a powerful revelation of the history of a people globally misunderstood!

There are indeed many valid reasons for the above assumption.

Indeed, in real terms, Nigeria – the complexity of the presumed largest economy in Africa – is that she experienced a different pandemic; during the globally infested COVID-19 pandemic. Better expressed, what we have experienced is perhaps an awesome inability of leadership and governance institutions to innovatively perform the constitutional mandate of the protection of life and property of the citizens. This is partly because they were not only prepared to govern, but  more so; because the nation was visibly challenged by the supersonic velocity of the science-driven propensity of digital high-tech, data-centric new-world.

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But is year 2023 a magic number to behold? Yes! Numbers can indeed be magical in many forms. Especially when they come like an amazing and thunderous rain that washes away the rots and wrongs of the world with an awesome splash wrapped in the audacity of hope. Unassumingly, delayed development syndrome has a way of providing extraordinary and positive acceleration on development trajectories for many reasons. First, through the incidental delay, citizens would have learned many lessons and incubated the required momentum to throw-up new dreams of creativity and innovation never seen nor experienced before.

As if to reward the wronged, the progression may be positively propelled with a wavelike energy that dismantles the old and delivers new ways for uncommon creativity and innovative leadership.

Secondly, the challenges with 2023 is that, apart from the ordinary expectations of return to peace; tranquility and security to life, the nation would be tasked to think anew without the box; in order to recover from the tragic trauma of derailed development in the midst of plenty. This amongst others, is because the delayed development syndrome will charge forth and release bottled-up creativity and innovations with immense opportunities. That is, opportunities – too overwhelming to imagine and complex to manage effectively!

These transformational opportunities reside in retooling the workforce for the future of work for productive agriculture; STEM-based resilience Education; building proactive world-class entrepreneurship capacities; unleashing massive gainful employment for the youth; prioritizing healthcare and affordable shelter for all; design-thinking production methodologies; empowering manufacturing, e-Commerce and services; invigorating entertainment ecosystem; restructuring national resource and wealth ownership and distribution channels; rebirthing national security system and re-ordering the transformation agenda and essentials for digital citizenship.

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Thirdly, to strategically attain the benefits from those emerging opportunities will require critical government intervention and leadership support to build the trust and resilience models required for withstanding the surge in demand and supply chains at almost all levels of existence. Above all, as these emerging opportunities will significantly require technology-enabled solutions; the country will be forced to engage massive retooling and upskilling of the national workforce.

All the above may be at variance with the World Bank global economic projections and rightly so; because ours is not yet a data-ready development ecosystem; but a muscle-based economic and oral-centric development assumption system. According to the World Bank’s latest Global Economic Prospects report; global growth is expected to decelerate markedly from 5.5 percent in 2021 to 4.1 percent in 2022 and 3.2 percent in 2023 as pent-up demand dissipates and as fiscal and monetary support is unwound across the world. Meanwhile, at this momentum, we should be concerned that as at May 2022; Nigeria’s annual inflation is on the rise – consecutively registering upward movements in the preceding months to 17.71 per cent.

Nevertheless, one may, with a flavour of disagreement, argue that the projection of the World Bank that ‘inflationary pressures, and elevated financial vulnerabilities in large swaths of the world could increase the risk of a hard landing’ may not necessarily affect all nations the same way. Especially those special nations become blessed with extraordinary-gifted leaders; equipped with the ability to reimagine their nations knowledge Olympiad competitiveness models. A case in point is Nigeria where the majority expects overwhelming knowledge transformation as panacea to a delayed development syndrome – significantly fuelled by assumed weak and corrupt governance and judiciary structures.  

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It amounts to an alien development model that mainly benefits the masters voice of world.

But the crux of the matter with our state of the economy and development performance is the deliberate incapability of governance to harness the quantum resources (human and material) to energize STEM-based production process, growth rate, creation of wealth and constructively deemphasize consumerism.

Yes, the possibility of global economic slowdown down visibly exists due to the Russian-Ukraine war. But Nigeria has the wherewithal to and can be transformed into an economic and development growth paradise; with an annual growth rate of about 6.9 and above – going forward to 2023. Meanwhile, to accomplish that, we must within the next six months build and generate a minimum of 40,000 Megawatt of Electrical energy; combining many sources of power generation models. Impossible should be deleted from our national development mindset.

Indeed, our current and main development burden predominantly resides in gross economic wastage; excessive and anti-future greed and above all, bottomless corrupt-centric governance and blatant anti-value chains. Though we are holders of world record in the importation of power generators; but we must be reminded that all our Broadband and 5G showcase, are incapable of scaling and bringing out monumental development aspirations to speed, without massive and stable power at all IoT and AI levels.

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Finally, since our core challenge resides in equitable distribution of wealth through a meritorious process; we can reverse and reimagine to existing structure by putting Nigeria and Nigerians first.

Therefore, the priority way forward should include but not limited to proactive redistribution of national wealth; by winding-down and eliminating individual ownership of our central commonwealth of crude oil and Gas resources and reverting them to national wealth ownership model. Restructuring and retooling the workforce, enabling education with STEM, energetically conquering the Diaspora brain-drain syndrome, amplifying inclusive and secured co-existence assurances for all Nigerians worldwide and leverage brain-gain strategies for quantum-leap development opportunities. These, amongst other low-handing fruits are the absolute minimum we can do to secure our digital future.

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