Nigeria's future looks precarious if there isn't a clear strategy that fits the changing geopolitical context implemented by strong leadership.
In an article published by SBM Intelligence titled 'Nigeria in a changing geopolitical context' on Monday, August 26, 2019, the dangers facing Nigeria if it does not align with the emerging new world order are clearly outlined.
In the past, Nigeria failed to take advantage of the post Second World War set-up to grow its economy and now with the emergence of Donald Trump, tough times lie ahead.
"This benign post-war geopolitical context is unravelling, and Donald Trump’s “America First” strategy points to a couple of difficult decades ahead for the Nigerian and global economies" reads the SBM Intelligence article.
After the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the Soviet Union, neo-liberal economics started to become popular. According to the article "The consensus was that free trade, lower tariffs and the free movement of goods and services was the ordained path to a shared prosperous economic destiny for the world."
This however created a problem. American factory workers couldn't compete with their counterparts in many Asian countries because of the low cost.
American Presidents after George H.W Bush paid little attention to the "challenge of a dynamic geopolitical context seriously, and at the same time China began to liberalise economically."
Other advanced countries in the West could not deal with low-cost manufacturing from China.
"A series of events transformed the political landscape in the West. These include the impact of terrorism and the Iraq War, the Great Recession of 2008, large scale migration from the Middle East in the wake of the Arab Spring and a lingering dissatisfaction at job losses triggered by the relocation of manufacturing operations to China. The impact of all these events culminated in Brexit in the United Kingdom, the rise of populists across Europe and Donald Trump’s rise to the White House" explains the article.
With an 'America First' policy and getting back at China "for not providing American companies with reciprocal access to its markets," Donald Trump has messed up the order of things.
These plus other factors put Nigeria in a position where America won't consider the country strategically relevant.
And with Europe dealing Brexit, migration and rise in populism, the continent is preoccupied with dealing with its problems than helping Nigeria sort itself.
This leaves the option of China. Even though China's relations with African countries have strengthened over the years, it is not a Father Christmas situation.
For Nigeria to take advantage of the changing geopolitical context, it needs to do three things;
a) "realise that we are no longer (if we ever were) the “Giant of Africa”. Nigeria is a failing state, with a government struggling to impose its will on a variety of violent non-state actors. Put plainly, we would not be a prime location for foreign investment – even if our economic policies were sound, and they are not. This state of affairs has to be fixed, a development which is unlikely with the present set of leaders buckling under the weight of our obsolete unitary system."
b) "conduct a careful assessment of what the world wants and what we can offer competitively. In the past, this was relatively easy; do the necessary work to be the next big location for IT outsourcing or low-cost manufacturing to the US market, and FDI floods in. Unfortunately, that era has passed."
c) "invest in a 21st Century workforce."