LBS EXECUTIVE BREAKFAST SESSION – MAY 2023 (Re: Which Way Nigeria: A Tiger/Breakout Nation or A Banana Republic/Failed State?)

Dear Subscriber,

What is Nigeria’s economic destination under the new dispensation?

Ruchir Sharma, in his book “Breakout Nations: In pursuit of the Next Economic Miracles” made these two comments:

“After a decade of rapid growth, the world’s most celebrated emerging markets are poised to slow down. Which countries will rise to challenge them?”

 “To identify the economic stars of the future we should abandon the habit of extrapolating from the recent past and lumping wildly diverse countries together. We need to remember that sustained economic success is a rare phenomenon”

Thinking about these statements we have presented three possibilities for “Africa’s giant”: a tiger nation, a banana republic or the worst of all, a cassava republic (failed state). Will Nigeria have a good comeback story, tagged as an economic miracle like the Asian Tigers (South Korea, Singapore, Taiwan & Hong Kong) or will we take minuscule strides to maintaining our emerging market title like the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China & South Africa) or will we fall to the bottom of the pyramid, becoming a pariah state notorious for narcotics, political instability and insurgency like Afghanistan and Iraq?

After decades of drifting, the giant is still struggling

Nigeria is the largest economy in Africa (2023: 221million people), with a nominal GDP of $500 billion, and there are huge growth and development prospects for the country. However, years of sub-optimal economic performance and missed opportunities to press the reset button have come to haunt the African Giant.

From the pepper seller at Jalingo market to the security guard at the Wema Bank branch and the CEOs of top companies, everyone is pessimistic, yet curious about the future of Nigeria.

Bearer of bad news is typically beheaded

Back in the day, the bearer of bad news to kings was typically beheaded. That notwithstanding, using the lens of the last eight years and the unfortunate events at the presidential elections, the outlook for Nigeria looks tough. But as they say “when the going gets tough, the tough gets going”

The outcome for Nigeria (Tiger, Banana or Cassava) heavily depends on the ability of the incoming administration to take audacious steps towards institutionalising the much needed reforms. The next set of policy makers have their work cut out for them and the first step is signalling with the aim of boosting investor and business confidence. The Nigerian government is too cash-strapped to revive the economy alone. Nigeria needs all the help it can get.

But it’s better to be frank (candid) than false (fake)

From our little crystal ball, our verdict is that Nigeria will have to either adapt or perish in the coming days. In other words, It’s crunch time for Nigeria (make or break).

The FT concluded its piece on Nigeria today (May 10, 2023) saying that “changing faces and rotating political positions is not enough. Nigeria needs systemic reforms that only its intellectuals and policymakers can drive”.

In this edition of the LBS Breakfast session broken down into part A and B, Bismarck Rewane and the FDC Think Tank attempt to unpack Nigeria’s future using the events of today. We also provide the implications of each scenario on your business, wallets, and wider economic performance.

It’s an interesting read.