The pertinent question to creating wealth for any society especially the societies in Africa: is Nigeria wealthy?
To those who answer this question in the affirmative, they point at large mineral deposits of all sorts. The problem they believe are the thieving leaders, while the populace are ridden in poverty.
There is a whole industry of works describing this poverty and how we got here/there but very little on how to take us from poverty to wealth. At best, you find poverty alleviation, poverty eradication programs, not wealth Creation for the society. This stems from the assumption that the wealth is there after all. Ghana has gold, DRC is awash with minerals, Zambia has copper etc.
The last supposition points to the need for fundamental changes in the mindset, Fundamental changes in METHODS and the course we have taken in getting things done. Changes in who DELIVERS these changes (lead operators). Many changes indeed. After over a year of “change” mantra/administration, there is so much of the same thing going on that to the observant eye the change is hollow indeed. Thus, this is an uncomplicated manual for politicians both practicing and aspiring to pick up and run with.
- Mind Internal Revolution
Change to recognize that the only wealth is the QUALITY OF HUMANS RESIDING IN THESE GEOGRAPHIC CONTRAPTIONS. Not the oil, gold, diamonds etc. Our educated elite are stuck in their primary school notes saying Ghana is rich in gold, Sierria Leone in Diamonds, Nigeria in oil…they can’t break out of this shell.
2 Individuals Not Government
Another reality far from the African intellectual is the reality that INDIVIDUALS not GOVERNMENTS make wealth happen. In fact, Government/State in Africa has kept the people down by just being there. How? Dependency, rentier and resource capture syndromes. Individuals like Tata, Toyota, Benz, Honda, Dangote build the wealth of nations not NNPC, PHCN. Few people realize Diesel is a person. Few people realize that the Guargantuan oil industry came from the efforts of one man George Bissell
3. Bottom Up Development
Policy makers in Africa are so focused on development by trickling effect. Trickle down process. So obvious this can’t lift masses out of poverty . Need for change from trickle down to BOTTOM UP development. JDPC’s finance structure is there for all to see. We also have cooperative networks to which finance can be channeled for bottom up development.
4. Defective Industrialization Policy
Africans attempt at industrialization through the vaunted Import Substitution Industrial Strategy (ISIS) was a failure with an Achilles tendon. Despite this, it is still vaunted as the policy of industrilisation. A country using this strategy runs into trade balance problems down the road as happened to Brazil in 60s/70s and India 70s/80s. The solution is export driven industrialization as practised in Asia which is being overlooked in Africa.
In the same way moving away from monocultural economy without a strong export culture is futile for many reasons. To drive the diversification you need dollars, to sustain it you need dollars, to grow it beyond population growth rates you need dollars or yuan if you like. So promoting diversification without engaging the world in non resource export trade is futile.
Exporting To Prosperity
As seen in the last two points, ISIS and diversification without export and moving from insular economy to one that engages the world in value added trade puts a severe limit to sustainable wealth creation.
7. Infrastructure And Wealth
Why after 5 decades of civil engineering departments in universities and polytechnics are our roads and other infrastructure outsourced to foreign companies to build. Yes we need infrastructure but by outsourcing we remain impoverished because of the drain on hard currency. Yes we can build ourselves but our mind is not there. We are sunk in the mindset that we cannot do it. See how easily OGROMA was made redundant.
Written By Dr. A Jaiyesimi