Vanguard (Lagos)

16 November 2012

Africa: Utomi Confident On Nigeria's Economic Recovery

Prof Pat Utomi, an Economist and Co-founder of Lagos Business School, has expressed optimism that Nigerian economy will recover faster than expected despite its overbearing socio-economic and political challenges.

His confidence is based on Nigerian stakeholders whom, he said, will quickly realise themselves and the deep mistakes over the years, especially in the face of growing competitive economic neighbours around Nigeria, the largest economy in Africa.

Citing the development that is taking place in Asia and the theory of the 'Flying Geese, Utomi, who delivered a lecture at Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON), said South East Asia saw that one country - Singapore, was getting things right and its neighbours were embarrassed and tried to behave like Singapore. "And before you know it, there was a collection of flying geese flocking together".

The flying geese phenomenon, he said, defines why the East Asia flocked away from poverty. "As I look around me, I see Ghana rising, I see Angola becoming major player in the oil industry of Africa. I am certain that we will wake up one day and decide how we can load machine gun and shoot ourselves in the foot. In fact, it is inevitable. It will happen. As it happens,Nigeria will be going up like a rocket. In Nigeria, things are about to get bright" he said.

Utomi also said about 30 years ago, economists used to be upset with large population as a problem. "They believed that if a country is going to have economic growth and for the quality of life of people to improve, then the country needs to reduce population growth. They argued that part of the reasons Africa is poor and in trouble is that its population is growing too fast, but today, economists are reversing themselves and they are now talking about democraghic dividends. Population is now seen as an advantage."

He believed that as 'Nigeria economy explodes'; Nigerians in Diapora will begin to return to contribute to the growth.

The renowned economist was also hopeful that as the world's pessimism about Africa fizzles out and the continent increasingly becomes the centre of economic attraction,Africa would no more drop from the world map as anticipated.

"Today, the world is about Africa rising. I want to assure you that if you are not ready and as business gets up and it will get up, you will be left behind". He said, today, five of the fastest growing economies are located in Africa.

Utomi who blamed the misbehavior of the leadership in the past for where Nigeria is today, strongly advised that it is time Nigeria and other African counties take advantage of its real strength and go on a growth trajectory

The economist who spoke on 'Managing Challenges of Communication of the Cashless Economy' at the forum said if Nigeria is to lead the flying geese phenomenon, one of the key issues is transaction in the economy.

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