Prof. Charles Soludo, former Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governor, recently provided a professional insight into the future of the country. Speaking at a conference tagged “securing the nation”, the ex governor said, going forward the destiny of Nigeria hinges on how well the government help build capacity among youths, and leverage technological programs to enhance productivity.
Soludo highlights the advancement in electric car and renewable energy as a threat to any advantage oil-dependent nations, such as Nigeria, currently enjoy. He condemns the government for not reviewing the present education system to meet the demand of a new generation.
According to the professor, “What is fundamentally wrong with Nigeria is that we have implemented all kinds of plans, all designed to diversify the economy. But we are still tied to the life-support of the oil sector, without plans for its booming population” .
“Is Nigeria preparing enough to welcome its 400 million population in the next 20 years or its 800 million citizens in 40 years’ time?” he asked.
The ex governor of the apex bank admonishes each state of the federation to concentrate on developing capacity internally by focusing on their comparative advantages in the areas of mineral resources, infrastructure and human capital. Declaring Abuja ‘broke’, he adds that the over-dependence on centralized funding to keep the economy afloat is not sustainable. Hence, each state should beef up for the challenges of generating its own revenue.
The insights shared by Charles Soludo is a wake-up call for entrepreneurs especially youth. The expected population growth is an advantage for the smart. Market is an aggregate of people. What makes any market attractive is the size and buying power of that people. Therefore, a projected 100% population growth within the next 20 years is an invitation to shrewd investors to build fitting products and services that will cater to the need of the next generation market.
What industries should entrepreneurs be looking to take advantage of?
a. Schools with differentiated offers – With the projected population growth, there will be a huge demand for creche, primary school facilities and skills acquisition centres. Smart investors in the education sector should break away from the norm and offer a differentiated yet effective curriculum to lure applicants.
b. Street Food – As lifestyle changes unfurled due to the fast-pace work and living pattern, more people will eat on-the-road, or hang somewhere different from home to refuel. Repackaged street food vendors can make the best of these.
c. Entertainment – Skits and short videos that provide short entertainment will drive traction. Comedy skits, video tutorial on cooking or usage of certain services on the new media will be a bomb.
d. Fashion – It is evident that the magic behind popular clothing brands such as Givenchy, Paul Smith, TM, and more are quickly fading here in Nigeria. Many people will opt for local couture and niche brands moving forward.
Other areas are raw food processing and repacking, fintech, beauty shops and more.