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This Time Is Different – New Nigeria on the Way

1990s was the decade of banking.

2000s was the decade of voice telephony.

2010s is the decade of broadband.

2020s would be awesome. From technology to agriculture, finance to entertainment, entrepreneurs would hit it big. There is a convergence happening right now and most of the pieces would sync. Our payment infrastructure would mature, the connectivity would improve and investors would come to party.

If you want to open a shop, do not focus on what cannot happen. Look deep into the promise of a nation where people buy whatever you show them. Have you walked through Oshodi at 6pm and see how Nigerians returning from work are buying things on the street? Do you know that people make a living from 5-9pm daily on Marina by selling all kinds of things on the roadside?

The challenges of power, roads and other infrastructures are the every reason Warren Buffett would not pump billions of dollars into the Nigeria economy. That he cannot come gives small people like us opportunities. Do not wait until things are perfect [we hope they improve, nevertheless]. If that prayer is answered, the global heavy hitters would arrive and you would be lost in the sea of competition. Right now, they cannot come because things are convoluted, and that is why you have a chance.

This time is different – I think our entrepreneurs would fix Nigeria. They fixed our banking. They fixed our telecom. And they would fix Nigeria.

 

I think the things (banking, telephony, etc) that were achieved few decades ago and the challenges before us now,  are quiet different. Creating a business with potential for scalability is not the same as providing capitally intensive infrastructures, with no or marginal profit anyway.

Entrepreneurs cannot fix the roads, railways or power sector; it goes beyond having brilliant ideas, you must have the financial and technical capabilities to make it happen. At the moment, that's not case, and no amount of discussions and conferences can change that, until we figure out where to get the money and human capacity to fix these things.

Again, I do not see how entrepreneurs have greater chance of succeeding because the infrastructures are non existent, that would be more or less like claiming to be very brilliant in a class where all your classmates could barely write their names. Having the world class infrastructures and inviting the global heavyweights won't really diminish the efforts of our entrepreneurs, rather it would enhance them and raise their thinking capabilities to truly do something big.

What is presently obtainable is that, instead of starting your work from zero (0), you rather start from -30, because the primitives haven't been taken care of. I do not see it as sign of progress or enhanced opportunity, it's just like doing inconsequential things. We can only achieve little things the way we are going, wìth occasional big moments here and there. To have a strong middle class, we have to fix those big woes; and all of us would be better off if we do.