Ending poverty in Nigeria

In tackling extreme poverty and other agendas of the SDGs, Africapitalism advocates for entrepreneurship that promises the unique idea of unlocking…

Stanley Ekpa

Will Africa achieve the sustainable development goals by 2030? We are eleven years to the deadline and three years post MDGs, another ambitious global development agenda that promised great prosperity. In Nigeria for instance, in 42 years time and by 2060, Nigeria will be a century old; 30 years before then and by 2030, the United Nations hopes there will be a universal up rise in sustainable development and a resultant global peace. Unfortunately, by 2050, just 10 years to Nigeria’s centenary celebration, Nigeria is predicted to be one of the two countries in the world with the poorest people; and ten years before then, by 2040, Nigeria’s infrastructural deficit will hit $878b. How then, can the SDGs be actualized to end extreme poverty; zero hunger; bring about good health and well-being; create quality education; gender equality; clean water and sanitation; affordable and clean energy; ensure decent work and economic growth; create an enabling country for industry, innovation and infrastructure to thrive; reduced inequality; build sustainable cities and communities; ensure responsible consumption and production; climate action etc as the 17 goals demand.

Active women participation in politics key to sustainable development — Awosika

There are possibilities, challenges and opportunities for the actualization of the SDGs in Nigeria, if only the right things are done by Nigerians. The hope, optimism and opportunities to build a country known for her ‘diversity in inclusive prosperity’ – based on a social approach that believe that no problem, however hopeless it may appear, is really insoluble, if well planned, well financed and well executed, flows from diagnosed hope from other jurisdictions. While pledging $60 billion in aid and loans to Africa, President Xi Jumping debunked the criticism that China was shackling poorer countries with huge debt burdens. To Xi, “the money will be focused on infrastructure to help speed African countries’ development, not on “vanity projects”. International donor institutions and countries are aware that most African governments, NGOs and individuals are busy investing in familiar vanities of yesteryears and recycling old problems for new times – at the 1989 Dar es Salam conference on the Alternative Development Strategies for Africa, scholars were at the realization “that even if all Africa’s external debts are written off today and nothing else is done, the debt crisis will recur in a few years. Africa scholars and others must therefore, mobilize themselves urgently to articulate and implement alternative programmes, strategies and policies for a transformation of all aspects of African economy and society “, that talk ended pretty sweet in Dar es Salaam and very little progress has been made let alone alternative strategies and programmes.

To avoid the jumbled faux pas of yesteryears, we must interrogate Nigeria’s plan to achieve the SDGs in 2030. Answers are therefore, found in the reassuring issues of Africapitalism, sound government policies, active citizenship, quality leadership, sincere civil societies and NGOs’ engagements and efficient institutional processes that allows development policies to be actualized down to the grassroots. In tackling extreme poverty and other agendas of the SDGs, Africapitalism advocates for entrepreneurship that promises the unique idea of unlocking the power of individuals to create and grow their ideas into successful enterprises; invest in strategic sectors that deliver financial return as well as broader economic and social value-agriculture, power, health, and finance; deploy patient capital that creates greater and broader economic values as opposed to merely the extraction; creates development dividends by conducting investments and business activities in manner that delivers financial returns to the shareholders as well as economic and social benefit to shareholders, the communities and country; build a value-added growth that leverage locally available human and financial capital, raw material and other inputs that creates longer, more integrated, and higher value regional supply chains; enabling regional connectivity that facilities intra-regional commerce and trade through the development of national and cross-border physical infrastructure, and the harmonization of policies and practices; ensuring a multi-generational development by focusing on investments and economic growth strategies that build value for future generations; and by fostering collaboration between business, investors, governments, academia, civil society, philanthropists, and development institutions to create conditions that will empower the African private sector, individuals and the continent to thrive.

The enormous role of governments in achieving sustainable development in Nigeria beyond policy deadlines is a generational duty in perpetuity – our governments must set ambitious and audacious long-term development goals; timeously pass and execute our fiscal budgets, for a delay in budget passage and execution is an injustice against our socio-economic progress; and continually, play the paternal role of unifying, protecting and creating an inclusively enabling environment for all her citizens to thrive and prosper. We have three general elections and eleven national budgets before 2030, we must make it less politics and more governance, less talk and more action, less debates and more results, less extraction and more addition, less exclusion and more inclusion, and less deceit and more patriotism. Nigeria must think, innovate and create new products and services that solves our local development problems and are of global value. We cannot continue to create regional development commissions whereas our nation is in critical need of inclusive development – since the creation of the Niger Delta Development Commission, Northeast Development Commission, and now with the passage of the Southeast Development Commission, these regional development commissions have failed to serve as engine for growth and speedy development – they have failed to address the poverty ratio, unemployment, oil spillage, insecurity, underdevelopment, and legion of other issues bedeviling the regions, yet, these issues are peculiar to all regions in Nigeria and there must be collectively addressed because an insecurity anywhere in Nigeria is a potential threat to the peace, security and development of other parts of Nigeria and the underdevelopment of anywhere in Nigeria is a great security threat to the entire parts of Nigeria.

Who exactly watches the watchers of our governments and developmental progress? Those who establish NGOs and Civil Society Organizations have a responsibility to do so with the intention of filling patriotic and humanitarian gaps in the society. The Corporate Affairs Commission’s database is full of NGOs and CSOs registered for social empowerment of Nigerians, yet many of them are focused on securing international grants for their self empowerment rather social empowerment. EFCC must monitor and checkmate them, else we will be criticizing our governments in vain, when we the people, in fact are more entrenched in corruption and self destruction than the greed of our political class.

We can and must strive to achieve the SDGs or substantial components of the agenda. The world is not waiting behind for our development failures, the world cannot continue to spoon-feed us with grants and donations, we as a people and a country must rise up and create a future of our own choosing and effort. As Tony Elumelu said, “the future we all want for ourselves is one of our own making”. All hands must be on desk, our poli- tics must be directed towards modernizing Nigeria instead of cosmetics projects and our continual reward for “political loyalty”. We the citizens, must patriotically pursue the actualization of the SDGs and a functional Nigeria; and our institutions must work for an efficient and productive Nigeria.

God bless Nigeria.

Tony Elumelu Foundation to empower 200 Nigerian entrepreneurs

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Ekpa, Editor-in-Chief, Nigerian Corruption Cases Law Report, writes from Abuja via ekpastanleyekpa@gmail.com

The post Ending poverty in Nigeria appeared first on The Sun Nigeria.

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