At the historic and prestigious Georgetown University in Washington D.C. last week,precisely on Wednesday, February 12th, 2014, former Governor of Abia State, 2007 Presidential candidate and international corporate entrepreneur, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu took to the podium to candidly discuss Nigeria’s future.
At the address, entitled ‘Nigeria as Africa’s Capital By 2020’, with pupils, alumni, professors, analysts and members of the foreign press in attendance, Kalu opened by citing the now-acclaimed Oxford Economics analysis which prognosticated that by the year 2020, Lagos will overtake Johannesburg as Africa’s economic capital. During his formal remarks and the rousing, interactive question and answer session that followed, Dr. Kalu provided in-depth analysis on how the West African juggernaut can leverage the opportunities it has been blessed to play host to, and utilize effectively and accountably arable land, oil wealth, and human capital potential comparable within emerging markets only to China.
By doing so, the nation will not only meet the expectations of such western prognoses, but indeed make certain Nigeria’s ascendancy to the echelon of M.I.N.T (Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria and Turkey).
“There are methods to achieving greatness for Nigeria”, Dr. Kalu stated. “…Those which can be undertaken with a political scalpel as opposed to a broadsword; however, I stress that our path is by no means inevitable”.
In a written statement, Sam Amsterdam, International Spokesman to Kalu , noted
that Dr. Kalu’s personal saga of success, much like that of Nigeria, was never assured. “…It required perseverance, a keen receptiveness to new ideas and innovative responsiveness to globalization”.
The formidable barriers to continued development in Nigeria were also given focus. Fragmentation, rampant corruption, oil theft and firewood distillery operations, threats to the democratic process, security, territorial integrity and bureaucratically-based infrastructural development paralysis no doubt serve to promote only instability and incentivize merely global trepidation as opposed to integration and refreshed investment.
Dr. Kalu has long been a proponent of market liberalization in Nigeria. During his address, he interpreted and reverberated that the pursuit of private sector profit in areas such as electricity generation, agribusiness and technology is collectively a high yielding opportunity, one that can serve to have a profound, mutually beneficial effect between businesses and those they serve in-country and throughout the ECOWAS.
Nonetheless, as Dr. Kalu concluded his historic engagement, he made clear that he believes in Nigeria, believes in its rightful place in the world and further, believes that with openness on the agenda, the nation can bring about tangible change unlike any other witnessed in African history.