Nigeria, Match Saudi Arabia’s $425 Billion Infrastructure Plan

Nigeria, Match Saudi Arabia’s $425 Billion Infrastructure Plan

This is huge: Saudi Arabia wants to invest $425 billion in railways, airports, and industrial projects as it tries to become less reliant on oil. About 70 deals could be announced today.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, responsible for the biggest overhaul of the Saudi economy in its modern history, is preparing to roll out a sweeping plan for infrastructure and industry across the world’s leading oil-exporting nation.

Saudi Arabia is seeking 1.6 trillion riyals ($425 billion) of investment in railways, airports and industrial projects by 2030 as the biggest Arab economy looks to break its reliance on crude sales for government income. The kingdom could sign about 70 deals worth more than 200 billion riyals when Prince Mohammed presents the plan on Monday, according to Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih.

Can Nigeria orchestrate such deals, unlocking the next phase of our economic expansion through accelerated investment in infrastructure? As it stands now, Dangote Group has raised more money than the Nigerian government (on its capacity to attract capital on direct public projects) since 2014. We need to elevate the game with a massive infrastructure project that will transform Nigeria. I mean we need to go big.

We will be voting in days, but none of the presidential candidates have explained how they would build a modern Nigeria in a big way. From roads to airways to healthcare systems, Nigeria needs immersive injection of capital to redesign the economic architecture of the nation. We must take the Saudi Arabia challenge, at least go close to half of that plan. But ideally, we should match it since our GDP of $540 billion and that of Saudi Arabia are largely at parity.

While we welcome Google, Facebook, drug-drone-delivery startup, etc, their impacts will be marginal. We really need rail builders, road builders, and seaport builders to architect the platform upon which all entities (web and offline) will run. Nigeria must go BIG and plan for the future.

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