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Is Nigeria ready to lead the African Continent ?

Nigeria currently holds the title for being the most populous nation in Africa. Majorly an English speaking country with an estimated 170 million people speaking 520 local dialects , the country boasts of its sheer size and cultural diversity. We examine the facts and the figures and ask – is Nigeria ready to lead the African Continent ?

On April 6, 2014, Nigeria emerged as the largest economy in Africa with a GDP of $594.257 billion surpassing South Africa by $253.041 billion. The Nation currently ranks as the 20th largest in terms of Purchasing Power Parity and is one of the fastest emerging markets in the world.
The entertainment industry isn’t left out of the list of achievements. The Nigerian Movie Industry (Nollywood) is the second largest in the world in terms of annual film productions and output and is the second-largest employer in the country (according to a controversial report by UNESCO).
According to CNBC Africa, the country’s music industry produces over 550 albums of different kinds of music annually. Stake holders claim record sales have more than tripled in the past five years and have projected that the country’s entertainment industry would hit one billion dollars by 2016.
Internet usage in the country also grew between 2012 and 2015 from 48.4 million users to 81.4 million keeping her at number 1 in Africa.

Nigerian Afro-pop sensation - Psquare at XGRadio show

Nigerian Afro-pop sensation – Psquare at XGRadio show


Challenges

According to the CIA world facts, Nigeria has an estimated adult literacy rate of 56.9%. This puts her among the 10 countries that constitute 75% of the world’s illiterate adults. This is a major problem to this middle income economy which also suffers from widespread corruption.
The rise of public administration and the discovery of oil and natural gas (a sizable means of revenue for the country) are two major events seen to have led to the increase in corrupt practices. In 2013, Nigeria Survey and Corruption Survey Study indicated that public institutions ranging from the Nigerian Police to the National and State Assemblies were the main emissaries of corrupt practices in the nation.
Transparency International ranked Nigeria as the 15th most corrupt country in the world in December 2014.
Terrorist insurgents such as the Boko Haram Islamic sect in the North and the militant coalition known as Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) in the southern region occasionally threaten the country’s peace and stability .

Looking forward

President Muhammadu Buhari who had previously lost 3 times, won the 2015 presidential elections which was an unprecedented step for democracy in the country and showed the new commitment to the democratic process. Africa, well known for its scarcity of credible elections, sees progress being made in achieving relatively peaceful and constitutional political transition.

Former General, Buhaari at a campaign rally.Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung [CC BY-SA 2.0 ], via Wikimedia Commons

Nigeria shows great promise in the private business area, particularly in technology and entrepreneurship. More tech businesses enter the market monthly attempting to solve local problems from education to agriculture. Two notable cases include ;
  • Iroko TV which is referred to as the Netflix of Africa is the world’s largest online provider of African movies,
  • Konga which is referred to as the Amazon of Nigeria is debatably the largest online mall in the country. It boasts of the largest single round raised by a single African startup to date and plans to expand to other countries in Africa .

According to Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, in 2013 , Nigeria and Zambia had a higher proportion of female entrepreneurs compared to other regions globally (both 40.7%). Nigeria also has the most startup investments on the continent up till 2015 according to VC4Africa.

Despite the country’s high economic metrics and indicators, over 50% of the country lives in poverty and there seem to be little to know improvement in living standards. Effective strides are currently being made to lighten the dark angles in the country’s path. Many say The Federal Republic of Nigeria has a zestful future. Others analyse the facts and predict its doom.

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