The World Bank expects the Nigerian economy to experience exponential growth beginning 2010. According to Ismail Radwan, a Senior Economist from the Bank specified,
“The Nigerian economy is doing very well....the latest figures released by the Central Bank of Nigeria indicates that growth is still going on at six or even close to seven per cent this year and next year will even be higher. So, we know that the potential of the Nigerian economy is even higher than that...As a matter of fact, the Nigerian economy should be growing in double digits."
The World Bank's public vote of confidence in the Nigerian economy will act as a positive sign for those investors that are yet to enter the Nigerian economic terrain. Although foreign direct investment continues to come into Nigeria, it seem sit is yet to adequately trickle down and benefit those further down the economic and social food chain. Nevertheless, the potential for economic growth, and at double digits, is enough to encourage most who understand Nigeria's capacity to be a goldmine. The Central Bank was equally praised for putting local banks in line and encouraging better "supervision and governance practices."
Given Nigeria's unique situation - a President that is sick and away from the country recovering - there are certain political questions that come to bear. Will MEND fall in line to keep the newly discovered peace that has come to Nigeria's oil producing area at a cost of billions of dollars? Will President Yar'Adua hold onto his seat or bow to the growing voices calling for his resignation due to his health issues? Will Nigerian banks start lending money to local small businesses and entrepreneurs? Will the oil industry and other sectors of the economy receive the investment needed to drive the economy and ensure that the predicted recovery is not a jobless one as is currently the case in the United States? Will the predicted growth create the jobs necessary to fuel spending at all levels?
There are seemingly far too many unanswerable questions, and this writer hesitates to assume that things will be smooth sailing economically. Nevertheless, this writer believes that these predictions from the World Bank are an opportunity to further push non-petroleum sectors of the economy so as to somewhat lessen the nation's dependence on oil and the fluctuations of the global economy. At all levels, be it, federal, state or local government, Nigerian authorities must remain focused on doing the things necessary to encourage confidence not just in foreign investors and organizations like the World Bank, but in average citizens as well. That confidence will foster commitment, hope and zeal which Nigeria, and not just its economy, needs. And, hopefully, even more positive news about the nation and its future.
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