Nigerian President Seeks China’s Help as Economy Tumbles

April 13, 2016Nigeriaby EW News Desk Team

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Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has planned a four-day trip to China this week to secure infrastructure loans and foster closer ties, according to The Wall Street Journal. Nigeria’s economy has suffered from factors, such as lower crude prices and a slow-down in Chinese demand. Presidential spokesman Femi Adesina stated that 18 months would pass before the West African nation will see a recovery.

Buhari has a host of issues to tackle, such as dollar scarcity, business shutdowns, and lacking electrical output, and many citizens struggle to find necessities. Most of Nigeria’s problems stem from its dependence on the energy sector, but officials have come to the consensus that diversification is vital.

The Chinese visit will not make a substantial impact on Nigeria’s declining status, as China goes through its own economic turmoil, but infrastructure loans will provide some relief in the short-term and Nigerian leaders must maintain ties to the Middle Kingdom. This year will mark the 45th anniversary of Nigerian-Chinese relations, and both leaders intend to mark the occasion during Buhari’s visit.

Nigerians can look to the Chinese model in terms of industrialization, which is crucial when it comes to breaking oil dependence. China achieved significant growth rates in previous years; due in part to its behemoth manufacturing base, but expansion has cooled as the economy shifts to a service-based system.

Like China, Nigeria is following the same transition to a service economy, and non-oil sectors have been primary growth drivers throughout the past decade. This is good news for a government that wishes diversify the economy, but it will take years for policymakers to successfully change Nigeria’s production model.

Nigeria could achieve the same feat as China through manufacturing and other sectors, as it has a greater advantage over other emerging markets. Nigeria is one of the most powerful countries in Africa and holds the largest population on the continent.  

Nigeria underwent steady growth of 7.0% throughout the past decade, but authorities face a long road ahead in recapturing such a monumental track record. Furthermore, security must improve to ensure a safe investment atmosphere, and Buhari seems to be on the right track as armed forces combat the terrorist organization Boko Haram.

Further still, policymakers need to address job creation and transform society to achieve balanced development, notes African Development Group. A transformation must also take place within the government, as corruption remains a systemic problem.

Little progress will follow unless the government rids itself of entrenched corruption, and while Buhari has cracked down on problems such as graft, tainted rule will continue to be a problem unless Nigerian leaders change their mindsets.

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