Futuribles Journal n° 441

Économie, emploi - Géopolitique - Institutions - Ressources naturelles, énergie, environnement

The End of the Nigerian Eldorado

Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa (with more than 214 million inhabitants in 2020) and, according to United Nations data, will be the third most populous in the world by 2050 (behind India and China). Thanks to its substantial oil resources, it is also one of the continent’s leading economies and a major cultural influence in Africa. For all that, as Marc-Antoine Pérouse de Montclos shows in this article, those assets may not be sufficient and Nigeria’s Golden Age could be coming to an end. This is partly because of the violence and economic spoliation raging in some regions and, partly, the corruption and fraud with which many local authorities are riddled. And if the Nigerian authorities give the impression of acting and legislating to deal with these dysfunctions, that action is at times mere window-dressing and, ultimately, the legitimacy of democracy is ebbing away. It is just a small step from here to believing in the possibility that the country may break up, as some observers have at times suggested, though, despite its current weaknesses, Nigeria is a country that has proved its resilience in the past and whose national unity remains solid. No doubt everything will depend in the end on the capacity of the political and economic elites to redistribute oil revenues and reduce social inequalities — an enormous challenge…

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