News / Africa

Energy Production Could Spur Nigerian Economy by 10 Percent

Drew Hinshaw

Nigeria's finance minister says moves to improve electricity production could bring economic growth of 10 percent a year by 2011. Market analysts say that will be a boon for Nigerian light manufacturing and trade-school graduates.

Finance Minister Olusegun Aganga says his projection of Nigeria's future economic growth hinges on the ability of the government to sell off its disastrous electrical grid to private companies.

Generator salesmen and diesel importers profit from the country's rolling blackouts, but Aganga thinks privatizing the grid will reduce Nigeria's infamous blackouts to a memory.

Market analysts say its a credible and exciting projection. For economist David Asserkoff at Extoix investment bank, it is just one more sign that Africa's second-largest economy is speeding up to join India and China in the ranks of the world's super-accelerating economies.

"If the finance minister is able to implement the kind of electricity sector and power sector and natural gas sector reforms that the economy could use, you could easily see growth pumping up past 10 to even 12 percent," said Asserkoff.

Domestic market

Even without energy reforms, Asserkoff says he projects robust seven-percent growth for the economy this year as Nigerian-made goods regain their share of the domestic market.

"The real story of what is going on is essentially taking out a lot of the bottlenecks in the Nigerian economy," he added. "Employment would certainly increase and unemployment would certainly fall. But you would see enormous productivity gains from workers who could just get to work and not have to worry about whether the lights are going to flicker on and off."

Nigeria's success is not just dependent on its ability to keep the power grid humming. Economist Gregory Kronsten at CSL Stockbrokers says the country's enormous banks must boost lending after last year's chaotic banking crisis.

"What Nigerian companies are looking for to take off, is for banks to lend on sound banking principles to sectors that they did not really lend to before," Kronsten said.

Target double-digit growth

Nigeria's current growth, he says, is being fueled by agriculture, retail, and small-scale construction. For the country to achieve double-digit growth, he cautions, borrowers in those sections of the economy will need to find lenders.

"If you are a large company, then you can get a loan. If you are a small business, you have not got much chance. If you are in agriculture, you have got virtually no chance," he added.

Ten-percent economic growth could hardly come at a better moment for Nigeria, says British Council Program Director Ben Fisher. He says the next generation of Nigerian workers will either make or break the country's economic future, depending on the government's capacity to open new trade schools.

"We are about to experience a huge a bulge, with a large number of potential young workers who will be able to enter into the workplace to support their families," Fisher said. "If we look at model such as Indonesia or Pakistan, we have seen a huge amount of economic growth, if the correct policies are in place to enable those people to enter the workplace."

Open borders for trade


That economic boom need not be limited to Nigeria. Asserkoff says the country's neighbors can stimulate regional trade by sharing ports. If they could cut red tape for visas and custom procedures, new commodities would start flowing across the West Africa's borders.

"I assume what you would see is a little bit of agriculture, textiles, everything. The rising tide would lift all the ships. That is the hope. That really is the hope," said Asserkoff.

Africa's biggest oil-exporter is also looking to use its economic might to play a bigger role on the global stage. In a visit to Nigeria last August, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the country could become the second African member of the Group of 20 leading industrialized nations if it successfully tackles corruption.

You May Like

Republican Majority in Congress Off to Rough Start

Standoff over Homeland Security funding exposes philosophical, tactical problems within party More

Pakistan Blocks Baloch Activist from US Trip

Human Rights Commission of Pakistan slams Islamabad officials for stopping people from leaving country to attend human rights conference More

Video Muslims Long Thrived in North Carolina Before Students Killed

Idyll shattered February 10, when three Muslim university students living in Chapel Hill were gunned down by a neighbor More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Muslims Long Thrived in N Carolina Before Slaying of 3 Studentsi
X
Jerome Socolovsky
March 05, 2015 9:04 PM
The killings of three Muslim students in North Carolina early last month came as Muslims across the United States have felt under siege, partly as a result of terrorist attacks being committed internationally in the name of their faith. But Muslims have long thrived in university cities in this part of the American South. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Muslims Long Thrived in N Carolina Before Slaying of 3 Students

The killings of three Muslim students in North Carolina early last month came as Muslims across the United States have felt under siege, partly as a result of terrorist attacks being committed internationally in the name of their faith. But Muslims have long thrived in university cities in this part of the American South. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Fuel Shortages in Nigeria Threaten Election Campaigns

Nigeria is suffering a gas shortage as the falling oil price has affected the country’s ability to import and distribute refined fuels. Coming just weeks before scheduled March 28 elections, the shortage could have a big impact on the campaign, as Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA.
Video

Video Report: Human Rights in Annexed Crimea Deteriorating

A new report by Freedom House and the Atlantic Council of the United States says the human rights situation in Crimea has deteriorated since the peninsula was annexed by Russia in March of last year. The report says the new authorities in Crimea are discriminating against minorities, suppressing freedom of expression, and forcing residents to assume Russian citizenship or leave. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video 50 Years Later African-Americans See New Voting Rights Battles Ahead

Thousands of people will gather to mark the 50th anniversary of a historic civil rights march on March 7th in Selma, Alabama. In 1965, dozens of people were seriously injured during the event known as “Bloody Sunday,” after police attacked African-American demonstrators demanding voting rights. VOA’s Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights pioneers who are still fighting for voting rights in Alabama more than 50 years later.
Video

Video Craft Brewers Taking Hold in US Beer Market

Since the 1950’s, the U.S. beer industry has been dominated by a handful of huge breweries. But in recent years, the rapid rise of small craft breweries has changed the American market and, arguably, the way people drink beer. VOA’s Jeff Custer reports.
Video

Video Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Authorities Struggle to Secure a Divided Mariupol

Since last month's cease-fire went into effect, shelling around the port city of Mariupol has decreased, but it is thought pro-Russian separatists remain poised to attack. For the city’s authorities, a major challenge is gaining the trust of residents, while at the same time rooting out informants who are passing sensitive information to the rebels. Patrick Wells reports for VOA.
Video

Video Volunteer Gauge-Watchers Help Fine-Tune Weather Science

An observation system called CoCoRaHS is working to improve weather science, thanks to thousands of volunteers across the country who measure precipitation in their own backyards, then share their data through the Internet. VOA's Shelley Schlender reports.
Video

Video NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planet

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Muslims Radicalized Online

Young Muslims are being radicalized ‘in their bedrooms’ through direct contact with Islamic State or ISIL fighters via the Internet, according to terror experts. There are growing concerns that authorities and Internet providers are not doing enough to counter online extremism - which analysts say is spread by a prolific network of online supporters around the world. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More