Nigeria's Long Term Economic Development Strategy: A Primer on Re-Orientation and Coordination


Sunday, December 15, 2019 / Originally Published in Apr 2017   / 15:37PM /  By Ajibola Alfred  /   Header Image Credit: Straplan Advisory


"Every country adopted an economic philosophy that is best suited for its survival".


Old keys don't open new doors

In this commentary, we examined the pattern of global trade and the economy and how industrialised countries have each gone through the periods of recovery to dominance. We observed that two factors were critical to their sustained dominance, the prevailing economic philosophy and the coordination of their institutional mechanism. We recommend that our policy makers should consider these steps while crafting a long-term development strategy for Nigeria.




This was written with the hope that Nigeria will soon embark on the development of a long-term economic blueprint to serve as a guide and provide focus in shaping the future of Nigeria from hereon. This is particularly as the vision 2020 is coming to a close and Nigeria is still far from the set targets.


In our view, current global and domestic economic trends have presented Nigeria an opportunity to draw up a new and SMART development strategy for the mid to long term (10-20 years) to reshape its affairs towards competitiveness and sustainable growth.


Our discourse here is about strategy and strategizing for the development of that blueprint which would help steer Nigerians on the course towards their aspirations. Thus, our approach is guided by certain strategic principles such as the vision, mission, and philosophy as they are fundamental to the formula-tion and implementation of long term strategic objectives.


Nigeria as a country keeps striving for sustainable growth and development but it has not changed its economic fundamentals as much as it would like. Nigeria, like other African countries, is yet to be emancipated from the dependency conundrum handed down to their leaders following their "independence" in 1960. 


Strategy is about the long term - (Re)Orientation and Co-ordination as top priorities


Strategy is about achieving a long term goal. Short-term plans should effectively be derived from an overall long term vision and overall idea of the capabilities and re-sources, including the thought process, philosophy and values, required to achieve the long-term goal. What makes it strategic is the fact that planning is not done in isolation of other competing factors, but despite them, a position of advantage must be secured.


Hence, our economic thoughts are not about a 2 to 5 year document, particularly when it involves a change in mind set. We will also deliberately avoid discussing through the traditional frameworks. They say think outside the box, but we want to just "discard the box." Perhaps we can construct another box, or reshape the previous one.


This is about a change in the approach to economic policy and the process of its formulation, coordination and implementation in Nigeria. Our focus is on the recognition of the concept of Trade and Exchange as the pillars of the thought process of Productivity and Efficiency and the mechanism of coordination. Hence Nigeria must produce value to be traded in exchange for value. Nigeria has been administered on the basis of its potential over the last 40 years without attention or sincerity of purpose to the transmission mechanism that trade provides in connecting local industry with foreign markets and engendering sustainable growth and development.


Nigeria already has the structures and pillars to grow and self-develop sufficiently, it however lacks institutional harmonization, and central coordination is weak. In particular, the need for reorientation has become even more important. Our proposed development strategy is illustrated by our strategic framework, which gives an over-arching view of the importance of trade as an anchor for formulating both foreign and domestic policies. Hence our prognostic that the new economic development strategy must be anchored on a forward-looking trade sector strategy that stimulates and facilitates profits for the country. Importantly, the focus of the Financial System Strategy (FSS) should be directed at deepening trade domestically and within the region.


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About the Author

Ajibola Alfred is founder and director, Research & Strategy at Straplan Advisory Limited. He is a policy analyst with over 15 years experience in research and evaluation and strategic planning roles in private and public institutions in Nige-ria. His experience covers total quality management, asset management and financial markets, export/trade development finance and commodities markets, project management, public sector reforms and performance management. He recently served as reform leader and technical consultant at the Presidential Enabling Business Environment (PEBEC) Secretariat between 2017 and 2019.


He also powers, an online platform that seeks to create market access for made-in-Nigeria products by bridging the value-chain and eliminating unproductive middlemen. For more on financial infrastructure and access, you can send emails to or or simply call +234 803 860 8755 or +234 808 311 3785.


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