This April, Nigeria hit the front pages of the financial press. The re-evaluation of the size of the economy showed an emerging powerhouse, with a GDP of more than $500 billion, composed of a diverse range of sectors. For many people involved in African economies, this merely confirmed what we already know: Nigeria is a country with extraordinary cultural capital and huge natural resources; a young, dynamic population bursting with aspiration and ambition—but it is naive to talk about Nigeria’s opportunity without acknowledging its challenges.
The country’s narrative is a complex one, and too often, however, the country leads the headlines for the wrong reasons. Inequality and unemployment— both a result of the country’s economic structure that has generated growth and wealth in a narrow band of society—feed into social tension that time and again has led to tragedy. Business is often understandably hesitant in publicly addressing its role in mitigating and alleviating the socio-economic fractures in frontier markets. It is too easy to tell a story about the enormous potential in a country like Nigeria; it is much harder to acknowledge that business, along with government, development partners and civil society, has a responsibility and a commercial imperative to make sure that the benefits of growth are shared throughout society
As part of IGD’s Frontier 100 Forum in Abuja, IGD and Business Action for Africa launched a new report on May 6, 2014: “The New Africa – Nigeria: From Growth to Opportunity.”