This is a review of a few, selected, blog posts that discussed the Nigerian economy in the week that ended on March 14, 2009.
Manasseh Egedegbe of the Stock Market blog at www.stockmarketnigeria.com says there is a silver lining in the Nigerian economy. In a post that he aptly titled A Silver Lining in the Nigerian Economy, he discusses the advantages of the presidency’s decisions to deregulate the petroleum sector, sack top PHCN officials, stipulate a deadline of December 2009 for banks to conform to a uniform year end, and the proposal that all banks switch to the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) accounting. To understand why Mr Egedegbe is so positive about the outlook of the Nigerian economy please visit his original blog post.
Loy Okezie of Startups Nigeria wonders why Nigeria does not have many startups of note, save for Mr. Mike Adenuga’s Globacom and a few others. Mr Okezie raises the idea that it would be good for innovation to have a place like Silicon Valley in Nigeria, a place where innovative ideas could be incubated and brought to fruition. He recommends Lagos as the site for a proposed Silicon Valey, partly because the city is the commercial hub of Nigeria and it is already teaming with innovative people, and partly because of the presence of the Lagos Business School and the University of Lagos. He sees the possibility of having a vibrant Silicon Valley-like area in Lagos. It just so happens that I just finished reading The Economist’s special report on entrepreneurship. Under the heading Magic Formula, they discuss the secrets of entrepreneurial success (for a country). They cite instances of politicians who have tried to create a Silicon Valley in their country. According to them,the only one that has succeeded of them all has been Israel. One major point they draw attention to is that there is no Silicon Valley without Stanford University, University of California, Berkeley, and the big financial centre, San Francisco. Loy Okezie writes that he hopes that the governor of Lagos State would read his post. I hope, in addition to that, that the whole of the Nigerian legislature and executive would read it. It is not impossible to create an environment of innovation and entrepreneurship – I guess that is at the heart of Mr Okezie’s interest in seeing a Silicon Valley in Nigeria – but I think that no state government can do that alone. It has to be part of a holistic effort by the Nigerian government. In short, the country has to have it at the center of policy formulation. At the last check in the Doing Business report, a report of the ease with which business can be started and operated in a country, Nigeria ranks 118 in a list of 181 countries. That does not exactly make for good atmosphere for investment, even if there are some people taking care of the innovation side. Please see Loy Okezie’s original post for a fuller version of his ideas.
Over at the somewhat longwindedly-named Nigeria General Debate Blog Website, Adeolu Oyinlola discusses the moves of the Central Bank of Nigeria to accuse bureaux de change in Nigeria “of, among other infractions, money laundering, non-rendition of returns and unbridled greed.” Please go over to the original post for the details of his discussion.
And who remembers the days when there was a measure of schadenfreude on the part of some citizens of African countries at the ill-fortune of developed economies? Conventional wisdom had it that the financial mess was baked in Wall Street and London ovens, and that it’s ill effects were limited to economies that had more than a certain measure of exposure to these major global financial centres. Africa was declared innocent in the matter by Ms. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Managing Director of the World Bank. But if anyone ever thought that the innocent does not suffer this is the time for them to wake up to the reality of the pains that African countries are feeling. My friend Oz of mootbox.com has made a list of some of the reasons why any dream that the financial crisis does not affect African countries remains just a dream. Check this out at his website.
I end here. Till next week when someone else will do another review of Nigerian blogs.
Nigerians talk, we are just making sure that there are ears listening.