Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Staying here

Funke asked me if I am going to stay in Nigeria. It's a difficult question to answer. But the opportunities combined with the speed the society is transforming make Ng an irresistible place to be right now. Give it a couple of years and the country will not be recognisable for people who have been away for a while. The negatives are well known: it is a high risk environment, there are security issues, the way people approach problems here can be infuriating (taking the line of most resistance). But the potential upsides are greater: a stabilised economy hitting double-digit growth (thanks to growth in the non-oil sector), increased globalisation merging with the strength and dynamism of the people leading to surprising results for business and culture alike. Consider this one fact alone: in 40 years, Ajaokuta Steel Mill did not produce one single bar of steel. Now, under the ownership of Mittal Steel, it looks set to produce 2.5 Million tons per year! A railway network for the whole country will be a consequence of this.

Although I adore London and other places in Europe, its far more interesting to live in places where the rate of social and economic transformation is much higher. Everyone talks about BRICs (Brazil, Russia, India and China). If things fall into place in Nigeria, there should soon be talk of BRINCs. To Nigerians thinking of moving back: this is the time to make your move.


Anonymous,  2:10 pm  

Thank you Jeremy. The problems of Nigeria are obvious, but the success stories are never told.

fola 4:29 pm  

I was in Naija last October, and I visited Abuja for the first time...I had that sense then that returning home may not be a bad idea afterall...the major problem is the fear of the unknown. Having a series of plans may be one way to tackle that fear and having enough cash reserve. Leaving in the city can be expensive.

Anonymous,  11:10 pm  

Of all cities I have been to and lived in the world (in Africa, Europe and the United States), I love Abuja best. Maybe it’s because I’m Nigerian. I dream of returning back to Abuja to settle down within the next couple of years. My only fear is the lack of constant electricity, which I so much need for my work. But I see things picking up in Nigeria and I’m very positive about its future, despite the dregs called politicians who rule the country.

BTW: Abuja aint cheap by any standard.

Grace,  12:25 pm  

But Jeremy, are you sure that Nigeria is not going to be better only for the middle and upper classes? The advances in technology, business, etc, how does that directly help the uneducated, and educated but unemployed people? The things you mention sound really nice, but until Nigeria really revamps the public education system, provides jobs for people, and guarantees basic human rights, it will go down the road of the BRICs you mentioned which are basically economically/ethnically divided societies! Poor Indians are protesting against some of the advances taking place there (a good example will be dam-building), and I know for a fact that poor chinese have no rights whatsoever and are exploited by industrial complexes there. Not to talk of Brazil which has their race and increasing crime problem in poor areas.

supermandru 1:11 pm  

Not sure if you've seen this article

I hope I'm alive when this happens...

" 2020 it would become one of the 25 biggest world economies and by 2025 one of the world's biggest 20..."

Anonymous,  7:10 pm  

Not if you're gay, it's not....

Anonymous,  8:42 pm  

first of all we have to say thanks to jeremy, he gives us a personal insight of things. nigeria would develope and i hope the gov and private sectors does a good job of carrying the poor class into middle class.

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