Happy New Year and Best Wishes!
Nothing like starting the year with a new post!
Can you name all the flags pictured above?
If not, don’t worry because they are listed below.
From Left – Right.
Nigeria, South Africa, Egypt, Algeria, Angola, Morocco, Sudan and Kenya.
So what relevance do these countries have with the title African 8?
Firstly, they represent 8 countries in Africa, and secondly they signify the 8 largest economies in the Continent with Nigeria taking top spot.
The next series of blog posts will be dedicated to looking out the opportunities and challenges that will be faced over 2015 for these 8 nations. The first post begins with Nigeria.
- Most Populous Black Nation on Earth
- Largest Country in Africa by population (170 million)
- Largest Economy in Africa
- Fastest Growing African Country by population and forecast to double by 2036 according to World Bank
Lets face it, Nigeria opens a platform for interesting discussions and whether you like the country or not, it is too big to ignore when debating economic and strategic issues in moving Africa forward.
So what does 2015 have in store for Nigeria?
IMF forecast for 2015 suggest that economic growth will increase by 7.3%, a strong indication that there are more reason to be hopeful of the Nigerian Economy.
However the recent turmoil caused by the US decision to stop importing oil from Nigeria, and the subsequent oil price crash that followed, has added a shade of uncertainty to Nigeria; bringing to light questions of whether they can be capable of governing without oil revenues.
Yet again, Nigeria is exposed and unless serious measures are reserved to boost infant industries, the continuous dependency on oil revenues to fund government initiatives will destroy the nation. Like how the US have reduced their dependency on importing oil due to their boost in domestic oil production, Nigeria must learn a lesson and fast if it is to ever reduce the impacts associated with the fluctuations of oil prices.
2015 General Election
2015 also brings the Nigerian general election, a significant moment in the political landscape, which impacts not just local people but Nigeria’s major trading partners. Thus far, Nigeria has had 16 years of uninterrupted democracy, governed by one party, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). However this has not been without the absence of violence that has often occurred prior and after the election.
Nigeria is cautious, The World is cautious, and the failure to control Boko Haram (Militant Group) over the years has crippled not just Goodluck Jonathan’s credibility but public confidence over the government’s capability.
It will be interesting to see if Goodluck Jonathan will be given an opportunity to redeem himself should he be successful in winning the election.
On the other hand, could the rise of General Buhari, the presidential candidate under All Progressives Congress (APC), bring back the element of steel that has not been present in recent years and install back public confidence that has been deteriorating?
Or will the fact that he has contested in the last three elections and lost be an indication that his popularity can never be shared across the country?
There is more reason to believe that he is finally getting the public recognition he has been craving for, coupled with the fact that Nigerians are tired of the same ruling party that have governed since 1999.
Whatever happens the role politics plays in every Nigerian must be taken with great seriousness, and should be noted that Nigerians will go to great lengths to ensure that any hint of injustice is voiced out. It will be reckless, or even, criminal if procedures to safeguard a fair election are not well implemented.
Nigeria have the individuals to spark change and the resources that many countries will be envious of and can see vast improvements in areas of corruption and and governance only if the people in power desire to create such a system that act as a deterrent and one that puts Nigerians are the heart of the agenda.
We know they have potential, but potential is boring. Nigeria can change only if they want to.
The General Election is held on 14th February 2015, Valentines Day. Lets hope the spirit of love on that day will be enough to overcome any thoughts of violence.
Cupid, Nigerians need you.