With Africa’s Unlimited Resources, Why Is Nigeria So Poor
With Africa’s Unlimited Resources, Why Is Nigeria So Poor?
Asks Olakunle Agboola
Africa is the home of resources. Human, mineral, agricultural, name them, we have all in abundance. I have had several opportunities to talk about Africa and her vast resources, both human and natural, on different platforms home and abroad.
I have talked with enthusiasm about our vast uncultivated agricultural land and its highest potentials for the next global revolution. Most of Africa’s Agricultural land lies in the savannah and tropical rain forest, which receives a favourable amount of rainfall and sunlight all year round. Certainly, more than 80% of food crops consumed across the world can be produced in this region.
Africa sits on an agribusiness goldmine which most people don’t see. Since 2009, investors in the USA, Europe, Middle East and Asia have been buying and leasing millions of hectares of African land for Agricultural purposes. There has been a trend of serious grabbing by foreign interest of African land. According to United Nations, Foreign Direct investment in Africa’s agribusiness was $10 billion in 2010 and is projected to reach $45 billion by 2020.
Africa is not only blessed with mineral resources but also decorated with human resources and among all are young entrepreneurs like Mubarak Muyika from Kenya, Bheki Kunene, South Africa, Affiong Williams, Nigeria, Alain Nteff, Cameroon, Takunda Chingonzoh, Zimbabwe, and Ali-shah Jivraj from Uganda to mention but a few. Also, the likes of Zik of Africa, Nelson Mandela, JJ Rawlings, Kwame Nkrumah, the inimitable Awolowo, the great professors Adebayo Adedeji, Ayodele Awojobi, Chinua Achebe, Adeoye Lambo, Wole Soyinka and host of others intellectuals occupying enviable positions in the USA, Britain, Germany, Canada, and other countries of the world are pride of Africa.
Currently, Africa has medical doctors in foreign land who are doing well and making the continent proud. One of the long list of African doctors abroad is Dr Oladotun Okunola from Yoruba origin in Nigeria. He is a personal doctor and consultants to Hillary Clinton, an aspiring president in just concluded American election that gave Donald Trump a victory. Dr Oladotun is an adult neurology and clinical neurophysiology. He received fellowship training in epilepsy and clinical neurophysiology at Georgetown University Hospital, Washington DC, USA.
Similarly, Africa has Engineers, Physicist, Computer Scientist, Economist and Agronomist scattered abroad and doing well in their chosen professions. This has been a great concern for international communities knowing Africa especially Nigeria has human capacity and natural resources to her advantage yet the economy is stagnated. “Nigeria has one of the world’s highest economic growth rates, averaging 7.4% according to the Nigeria economic report released in July 2014 by the World Bank. Poverty still remains significant at 33.1% in Africa’s biggest economy. For a country with massive wealth and a huge population to support commerce, the level of poverty remains unacceptable.
The undermined factor is corruption which has eaten deep into the fabric of our existence. It is like a disease that spreads from mother to children. The former president of the country, Olusegun Obasanjo, on November 24, 2016 while speaking at the first Akintola Williams Annual Lecture in Lagos, reacted negatively on the level of corruption going on among the members of the Houses of Assembly and House of Representatives. According to Lewis Obi, the National Assembly is nothing but a business enterprise and the primary objective of the members is to make money for themselves.
The cancer of corruption has frustrated many citizens and taken some of our best brains abroad who today are holding big offices and contributing immensely to the growth of foreign economy. They could have achieved the feat of turning Nigeria into a science oriented and technologically advanced country but they are not being considered by the country as possible agents that can bring the nation on the path of progress and economic growth. The distance is not far-fetched from the political environment that willingly support ignorance and imposes mediocrity on expertise. It so happens because excellence, experience and capability do not form the basis on which appointments and leadership of institutions and sensitive state organs as well as economic structure are made.
Africa is neither a poor continent nor Nigeria a poor nation. The problem is mis-management of both human and natural resources for the nation to prosper. Nigeria had suffered so much in the hands of its political gladiators; those who pretend to salvaged her but have sucked her of financial fortunes for their own personal benefits. Remember, this nation is sinking not because it lacks the ability to swim but those who can make it swim are not allowed into the pool.