Thursday, June 9, 2011

Nigeria's Historic Opportunity

New York Times
30 May 2011


ABUJA, NIGERIA — Visiting Nigeria the week of President Goodluck Jonathan’s inauguration is a special privilege. This country of nearly 160 million people, about one in five of sub-Saharan Africa, is on to something historic. The people feel it. After a sometimes agonizing half-century since independence, Nigeria is on the verge of a takeoff.

In my conversations with President Jonathan — who took the oath of office on Sunday — and with government ministers, leading businesspeople and representatives of civil society groups, I felt a firm determination to ensure that this time, in this decade, Nigeria fulfills its potential to become an African economic powerhouse and a member of the world’s leading emerging economies. In practical terms, Nigeria would like to make the BRICS — Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa — the BRINCS by the end of the decade.

To those who only know Nigeria as a country that squanders its oil wealth, this ambition might seem outlandish. But for those of us who have had the chance to work with its leadership, this goal seems fully with reach.

There are five solid reasons for optimism

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