How to Fix Nigeria’s Economy

Talk Wednesday 30 March 2016, 7:00 PM

The price of a barrel of oil has fallen more than 70% since June 2014 and reverberations are being felt across the globe. Less than a year after the excitement surrounding the historic 2015 election which peacefully transferred power from the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressives Congress (APC), Africa’s largest economy and the continent’s biggest oil producer is on the brink of an economic crisis. Oil prices have fallen to roughly $33 a barrel – the lowest value since the 1990s – and in a context where oil accounts for 35% of GDP and 75% of the government’s revenue, this has had serious consequences.

President Muhammadu Buhari and his administration are grappling with a widening deficit which is expected to reach $15 billion in 2016, a plunging growth rate of 3% at the end of last year, and dwindling foreign currency reserves. The government is looking to borrow $9 billion from financial institutions, and is trying to keep the value of the naira from depreciating by banning the import of several goods and restricting the supply of foreign currency.

But what deeper structural problems does the currency crisis reveal? Can the clock be turned back on Nigeria’s deindustrialisation and over-dependence on oil? And how do social media campaigns such as #BuyNaijaToGrowTheNaira contribute to economic transformation and sustainable growth? Join award-winning broadcaster Funmi Iyanda and a panel of experts as they explore these questions.

‘How to Fix Nigeria’ is an event series conceived by Funmi Iyanda, award-winning producer and broadcaster at Creation TV and Oya Media, and organised in collaboration with the Royal African Society and the Frontline Club. The series brings together a broad range of speakers to discuss practical solutions to Nigeria’s contemporary challenges – and to definitively explore ‘How to Fix Nigeria’.

The panel:

Professor Charles Soludo is an economist and former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (2004 – 2008). He has served in more than 25 standing or ad-hoc technical and policy committees of the Nigerian government, and has acted as a consultant to 18 international organizations including: World Bank; IMF; OECD; EU; various UN-agencies; UK-DFID; USAID, AU, ECOWAS, IBM consulting, USA, IDRC Canada. Soludo has been a visiting scholar at Oxford, Cambridge, and Warwick (UK) and a visiting professor at Swarthmore College (US). He currently serves as chair or member of boards of several think-tanks; and as a strategic advisor to institutional investors.

Feyi Fawehinmi is a senior investment accountant at Friends Life UK. He qualified as an accountant a decade ago and has since worked in banking, private equity and insurance in the UK’s financial services industry. He has been blogging on politics and economics in Nigeria for the last 8 years and has been featured on Quartz, CNN and Buzzfeed.

Natznet Tesfay is director of Africa analysis, economics and country risk at IHS. She is responsible for data, analysis and forecasts on political violence and the political economy in Sub-Saharan Africa. Her areas of specialisation include analysis of political developments affecting the offshore energy sector in West Africa, particularly Nigeria; commercial developments, especially in mining, energy, and infrastructure in East Africa; and piracy risks in the Gulf of Aden and Gulf of Guinea.

Additional speakers to be announced.