Former United States Ambassador to Nigeria, Walter Carrington said on Monday Nigeria can realise its potential by taking advantage of thepopulation boom and creating an enabling environment for youth productivity.
He said Cote D’Ivoire and Senegal had impressive growth rates than Nigeria last year due to their less reliance on oil.
He said Nigeria must diversify its sources of export earnings and focus on agriculture, energy and infrastructure.
Carringtom, 87, said Nigeria continues to be frozen out of membership of confederation of nations which are thought to be the most important in the world.
South Africa, he said, enjoys more respect internationally than Nigeria despite its size and resources.
According to Carrington, Nigeria’s growth rate last year slowed to “an anemic”
He said the weak performance, according to a United Nations report, was a fallout of depressed oil prices, falling oil production, energy shortages and price hikes, scarcity of foreign exchange and depressed consumer demand.
In contrast, Cote D’Ivoire, he said, posted an impressive growth rate of eight percent, while Senegal grew by 6.3 percent.
Even with power shortages and bad agricultural weather, these two Francophone countries were able to far outshine Nigeria.
“Falling oil prices in 2016 underscored the necessity for oil revenue dependent economies, like Nigeria’s, to diversify their sources of export earnings.
“If the signs that oil prices may recover prove to be accurate, it is incumbent upon countries like Nigeria to direct more of that revenue to growth enhancing sectors like agriculture, energy and infrastructure.
The former ambassador said although its economy is the 20th largest in the world and is expected to rise to ninth by 2050, Nigeria has not been invited to the G-20, which claims to represent the world’s most advanced economies.
“South Africa whose economy is smaller and is not expected to grow as dramatically as Nigeria’s is however, a member.
I continue to wonder whether the continuing domination of South Africa’s economy by her white minority gives Western countries a comfort level that they do not feel when dealing with black controlled economies in the rest of Africa.
Some 15 years ago, four of the world’s major emerging economies, Brazil, Russia, India and China, came together in a group that became known by the acronym BRIC. In 2010, seeking an African member, they chose South Africa which became the S in the newly named BRICS.
I look forward to the day when Nigeria becomes the N in a renamed group of 6 which will be known as the BRINCS