Nigeria’s Gray Lizard; America’s Black Swan

Nigeria’s Gray Lizard; America’s Black Swan

We have a big problem in Nigeria right now. Unemployment is destroying the promises of a generation of young people. With extremely limited decent labor entry points, our young people would lag their peers in career developments within years.

In America, they talk of black swans: ” high-impact risks that are highly improbable and therefore almost impossible to predict”. Yes, “an unpredictable or unforeseen event, typically one with extreme consequences.” That is it: “something extremely rare”. So, because it is rare, you do not (usually) plan for it. Arab Spring was a black swan as the leaders of North Africa could not have modeled that risk.

In Nigeria, we do not just have black swan. We have gray lizard. It is a high impact risk, that is highly probable and evidently visible but totally, widely and irresponsibly ignored. The massive youth unemployment in Nigeria is a gray lizard. Governments see it daily but it is totally ignored.

My case remains: the Nigerian government must stimulate the economy through extended and massive injection of loan guarantees to help small businesses grow to absorb these young people.

I project the following as impacts:  Each of the 50,000 benefiting companies would add 10 employees within a year for a total capacity of 500,000 (direct) new jobs. The boom in the economy as result of this expansion (the new workers would spend money, the banks would expand, the firms doing business with these 50,000 companies would expand, etc) would result to additional 1 million jobs.

So, within a year of the initiative, government would have created very good 1.5 million jobs. And it can do this without losing a dime if the loans perform well.

We need to prevent this gray lizard from blowing up. Do not think it is impossible for the young people to wake up one morning, out of frustration, and cause mayhem. Yes, we need to create jobs through the private sector.  And I challenge the government to declare emergency on youth unemployment in Nigeria.


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