Home Community Insights Rebranding Nigeria and the Concept of Economic Distance in Transport Geography

Rebranding Nigeria and the Concept of Economic Distance in Transport Geography

Rebranding Nigeria and the Concept of Economic Distance in Transport Geography

Every year, I try to be a bit different about my New Years message, but every year, I also try to have a new message for Nigeria.

This year was different, because the message didn’t contain any sentiment that was specific for Nigeria, and some of my ‘people’ may feel left out.

Many people have only one sense of national identity. Some have one for every place they have lived. Some, for strange reasons, develop an alter ego identity around places they have never been, or places that they have been fairly briefly, for example, on a holiday, or on a period of study.

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I have lived many places, though my sense of identity is confined to three places – Ireland, Nigeria, and Trinidad.

Nigeria needs recovery, but I am not a politician, nor am I a nation architect.

I would like to discuss here, one or two concepts, though they are not a panacea on their own.

Concept of Economic Distance in Transport Geography

This concept is just simple Econo-maths. It refers to the trade and development multiplier effect that is created by improving transport routes between two urban entities.

It is achieved simply by adding the GDP of each city/town together and dividing it by the distance between them. For example, in Nigeria, it would be measured in  (currency)/km.

It becomes more complicated when considering two cities/towns not of the same nation, because the comparative benefit to each country, and the contribution for route creation or improvement needs to be considered.

A key example of this is the Trans–West African Coastal Highway or TAH 7 intended to link 12 West African coastal nations, from Mauritania in the north-west of the region to Nigeria in the east, with feeder roads already existing to two landlocked countries, Mali and Burkina Faso. This project of the Buhari Regime, was to terminate at Lagos, Nigeria.

This actually wouldn’t serve Nigeria very well, would open Nigeria up to port management inconsistencies on import duties into West Africa, and it also had really poor ‘Economic Distance’ metrics, which didn’t favour Nigeria.

It takes in ports that are better designed, and certainly, operated more efficiently than those in Nigeria.

Instead, Nigeria would be better placed contributing to an international highway going through South Cameroon, and taking in ‘the Congos’, terminating in Kinshasa.

Virtual Capitalist previously predicted that by 2050, Kinshasa is expected to be the second largest population in the world after Lagos.

A visionary highway route from Nigeria, terminating in Kinshasa, would probably provide the best ‘Economic Distance’ link on an international scale (as calculated by GDP Naira/km), with a lot of future proofing.

An easterly route, terminating in Nairobi, would probably be the second most efficient ‘Economic Distance’ link, though bearing in mind, Nairobi efficiency rate is better than Lagos, so that would require further investigation. Kinshasa is less efficient than Lagos.

On a domestic level, the route north, encompassing multiple middle belt and northern towns and cities makes no sense. The  GDP Naira/km collective value isn’t high enough.

Instead, Federal Strategy should be better placed making highly efficient links in the South. A link between Oshodi Lagos and Abeokuta in Ogun State has been completed, but this isn’t enough to allow transport routes to do their part in powering Nigeria’s economy.

Key high GDP Naira/km pairs would also be links to Onitsha, Aba, Warri, and Port Harcourt.

Those who know me well in a Nigerian context, who may criticize me on allegiance to tribal title must know that as a municipal centre, I am not recommending Owerri here, and it has to wait its turn with others.

A key link in Yorubaland should be getting the route from the Oshodi terminal to Ibadan, and an interlink between Ibadan and Abeokuta more intuitively joined up.

From around 2010 forward, both Ogun and Oyo became a focus for industrial development, as ‘brownfield’ sites in Lagos State weren’t large enough, and ‘greenfield’ sites in Ogun and Oyo were more freely available, but within easy reach of a massive Lagos captive market.

I believe concentrating on the links I have proposed, if managed properly, will generate the dynamic for further links with lower GDP per Naira/km urban pairs starting with highest first.

It is important to not grow links based on tribal sentiment.

Aba (Abia State) as the ‘piration’ capital of the world.

Aba for decades has celebrated its ability to pirate things.. in international English, think ‘knock offs’ or counterfeit. You can get really bad copies of designer brands, really cheap, or you can get indistinguishable copies at 20-35% of typical high street prices. There is a spectrum between the worst and the best.

Everything from the latest phones, to handbags, shoes, and perfumes is available.

Many industrial products are also available, though the best sourcing in the region for industrial products is Onitsha.

Many local advocates have made the argument that artisans in Aba have good enough product quality to establish brands to represent their goods directly, and they should wean themselves off copying fashion brands.

Many say, it isn’t that easy, and they don’t have the promotional budgets big companies do. It is easier to trade on the familiarity of the brands they copy. IP enforcement regularly raids them, but goods carted off clandestinely make their way back into the market.

9ja Cosmos is now offering a third way.

What we have done, is claimed ownership globally to the brand ‘pirayted’ by minting it to the Handshake Blockchain. We now have ownership of this identity which cannot be taken away from us by any court, or government directive, domestic or foreign.

What we ‘invite’ businesses involved in counterfeit goods to do, is to adopt the brand ‘pirayted’

In this way, the product, while seeming to resemble a well known brand, is being transparent about its similarities, while at the same time, making it clear, it bears the brand ‘pirayted’.

It would be helpful if businesses adopting the ‘pirayted’ could also incorporate significant departures, (perhaps with comic expression), that create some emphasis on gaps in resemblance to any product with IP protections.

We are making the ‘pirayted’ brand available for anybody to use, as open source, and not levying any charge for doing so.

As the brand scales and develops adoption and acceptance, Nigerian artisans and creators can evolve and migrate from resemblances to aesthetics of other products, and gradually arrive at unique expression, using ‘pirayted’ as both a vehicle and a reference anchor fulcrum.

9ja Cosmos is here…

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