Nigeria, There Is A Promise; Lesson from China

Nigeria, There Is A Promise; Lesson from China

Nigerian young people, there is a promise. I am an optimist – tomorrow will always be better. I saw this data a few hours ago, and I am sharing it to draw a lesson for Nigeria. Today, China has more billionaires than any country in the world including the US. Though the U.S. has more heavy-hitters, the data does not lie: a new group of 257 billionaires (in US dollar terms) were added to the annually released Hurun China Rich List. In other words, China minted 257 billionaires  in the last 12 months! With that record, China has overtaken the US. China has more than 800 people in the club while the U.S. has less than 700!

Then, the big one: how long did it take China? I refer you to this I wrote in Harvard. It did not take that much time. China has a playbook and is executing that playbook. It takes it one by one, every 5 years while looking deep into the future.

The world is on pause (literally) as everyone waits for the details of China’s 14th five-year plan. With massive global dislocation triggered by Covid-19, China can exploit many comparative advantages to accelerate its ascension at a rate the world has not witnessed before. So, watch out how China begins to build an economy that does not need the world to thrive but would be indispensable for the world. As the world’s largest exporter, the world runs on China and this new five-year plan could push the equilibrium more to China’s favour.

That brings me to Nigeria. Our compatriots have died in the course of fighting for a better future for us. There is one way we will honour them: during the 2023 election, we MUST drop tribes, drop religion and those things which divide us, and vote for the most competent persons. This protest was united across age brackets, tribes, religions, etc because brutality and hunger do not respect those elements. 

I do hope during elections, none will see Kunle, Adamu, Effiong, Ada, etc but capabilities. If we do that, Nigeria will begin to change. We may not get to China’s level immediately, but any impact of good leadership compounds. I challenge us to remember Oct 2020 even as we wait for 2023 elections to come!


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4 thoughts on “Nigeria, There Is A Promise; Lesson from China

  1. Capabilities! Capabilities! Capabilities!

    That should be the most important word in our democratic lexicon, going forward.

    Can we pull it off? Let me keep hope alive.

    Try it once, and if it fails to deliver massive value, then you can comfortably return to your tribal cocoons; and you will have my backing.

    God bless Nigeria!

  2. For Nigeria to get the level of China, we must protect every indigenous (home-grown) digital company and eliminate foreign ones. Yes Prof, you read that right. Our government must kill(or ban) Facebook, Instagram, Snap, Twitter, Google, Amazon, LinkedIn, Whatsapp and every other big tech firm and start encouraging home grown companies. I can tell you for a fact, Nigeria has some the best developers / entrepreneurs that pull this off, but we been stifled by big search engines, poor access to Venture capitalist both in the country and abroad and other social media companies that try to suppress our contents. It all sounds cliché but this is just the plain reality.

    Take a look at Huawei, Tencent, Alibaba, Didi-chauxing, Weibo etc. to name a few. This companies are protected by government entity in Nigeria. In order words, to become a billionaire in Nigeria, Nigeria government must build a firewall like Rep. of China to prevent Nigeria users from accessing these Tech companies in America, Government should even go as far as putting a sanctions on users trying to access these companies too. Now, they also have to put polices in place that enforces users use our locally used platform. I’m very much aware that you’re an American citizen, but you have Nigeria blood running in your vein and you can see the impact this will bring in the long run.

    Heck, why I’m I even going far. Just take a look at Russia digital behemoths like VK(Social media) and Yandex(Search engine), these are application created by Russians entrepreneurs and with Government interest in them. This is especially for Digital products whose services has been unbounded and unconstrained on the internet.

    A typical example is Paystack, why should the Nigerian government even allow such acquisition to occur? Paystack, has one the biggest potential to pull a real threat to PayPal & Stripe themselves. Honestly, it’s really sad.

    Especially, with recent happening in the country. It simply just shows that our government couldn’t care less about what is happening in the country. I’m going to try to my best to put this proposition to our Government. But the earlier people realize this, the better for us all.

    I’m willing to bet you that with such strategies in place Nigeria, Nigeria will print more millionaires and even billionaire within the next 10 years digitally.

    1. Nigeria is a poor country…you just havent realised it yet. we cant afford to engage in such protectionist policies, while so many still wallow in poverty. Armchair analysts love to use China as some kind of case study, yet always ignore the fact that China lifted hundreds of millions of its citizens out of poverty from the 1980’s till date. they did so by opening up their country, offering cheap labor to international firms, massive industrialisation, and strangling corruption and its effects. Only then could they afford to take the sort of steps you’re mentioning(banning foreign digital companies and growing theirs). if we dont stamp out poverty, grow our economy and make our citizens prosperous, who will be able to fund new digital startups? I’m not saying your idea is without merit, but dont put the cart before the horse. we have a long long way to go before we can start engaging in such isolationist and protectionist policies like you detailed. Paystack received $200m this year, but they started out by receiving $120k in 2016, and millions more in following years. Does Nigeria have startup accelerators and incubators that can raise such amounts? or you want foreign companies to fund the initial stages of a company, then the federal govt will now swoop in and take over abi? Monkey dey work, baboon dey chop.
      Lets fix our priorities as a nation first. We are poor. We cant feed our citizens, but we want to fund startups with hundreds of millions of dollars we dont have. Makes no sense

  3. Exactly! If we have a country ran by people with meritocracy, the government should have realised the potentials to even invest more than $200m Paystack worth from the reserves of the nation sitting somewhere to create even more wealth.


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