With Nigeria’s vantage place in Africa, it can galvanise the 1.4 billion population as an economic powerhouse to compete with the rest of the world.
This is was the submissions of experts at the Imaginate: Lead Africa conference, an Imagine Nigeria event held at the weekend in Abuja.
Dr. Julius Gatune, Senior Research and Policy Advisor at the Africa Centre for Economic Transformation (ACET), who was a keynote speaker at the conference, said Nigeria is the only country in Africa with the capability to galvanise the rest of Africa to become a global economic powerhouse.
He said Nigeria can be the powerhouse for Africa by providing certain incentives, particularly that Nigeria is globally significant because of its huge talents and economic resources.
He said Nigeria has the capability to lead the continent in the commerce, trade and services sector adding that already Nigeria entertainers have captured the African market especially movies and music and these can be replicated in other sectors.
Also, Chris Ngwodo, the Director General of, Office for Strategic Preparedness and Resilience, speaking on activities within the Sahel Region that impact Nigeria and the rest of Africa said the country needs to review her foreign policies, pursue political integration and focus on the Sahel region.
He said Nigeria must deliberately engage the Sahel to curb non-state armed groups, facilitate climate adaptation, and help alleviate poverty or food insecurity in the continent.
‘‘Nigeria must redefine its foreign policies for the next decade, build a transnational coalition of stakeholders across the region to collaboratively tackle the Sahelian challenges.’’
Ngwodo who heads the federal government’s Early Warning Center noted that the country has to deliberately engage with events close to its borders and happenings in Sahel countries to provide the needed leadership.
He explained that it was long overdue for Nigeria to resuscitate its Pan-African spirit which saw the country champion resistance against colonial activities in Africa and perform the big brother role of peacekeeping in troubled African nations.
Ngwodo said, ‘‘Nigeria must come to terms with an opposing tendency within its foreign policy and disposition to the world, the continent and the region at large.
‘‘Nigerians can be very insular; we tend to be indifferent to events happening around us or just beyond our borders, we are obsessed with our own internal problems and fixated with our struggle to forge coherence out of our diversity.’’
Despite the widespread belief that the Pan-African spirit has been naturally eroded owing to economic and socio-cultural challenges, Ngwodo insists Nigeria cannot continue to be indifferent to events just outside its borders.
Mr. Olugbenga Adesina, a consult to the project said “Africa is a big continent with many countries. The population is over 1.4 billion people now. Nigeria is the biggest country on the continent has the economy in terms of capacity. Thus, Nigeria will have to find a way of pulling other African countries together and see how we can work together we can transform the continent. Together we are more powerful.”
“From this conference, we intend to see how Nigeria can begin to play the leadership role in galvanize the rest of Africa countries and see how we can compete with the rest of the world” he stated.