All About the Unemployment Rate and Finances of Nigerians

All About the Unemployment Rate and Finances of Nigerians

Although Nigeria doesn’t usually rank high on the lists of best places to start a business or take a vacation in, people might still be interested in doing just that. As with any endeavor, it pays to scout the place and get a feel for it before setting up shop. The idiosyncrasies of a region would dictate the strategies best suited for it. So, for those interested in giving Nigerian business a try, here are some pertinent facts:

  • Credit is hard to come by for the typical Nigerian. Only less than one percent of all adults in Nigeria can prove their credit worthiness through records. Contrast this with countries like New Zealand, Norway, and the United States where one in seven Americans have over 10 credit cards and credit bureaus maintain records on almost all adults. It only follows that those looking for business and personal loans must go through miles of red tape and bureaucracy to procure funds. It also goes without saying that credit card use is negligible among the native population.
  • According to official figures, the unemployment rate reached an alarming 20% this year. What’s more disheartening is that depending on methodology and the data that you are going to use, this figure can balloon anywhere from 50% to 70%. Another noteworthy fact is that despite these figures, the GDP growth rate is relatively high at 8.4% – ranking only 15th in the world.
  • Nigeria is rich with oil reserves to the tune of an estimated 37.5 billion barrels. The country’s oil production makes it the 6th largest exporter of crude and places it in the top ten biggest oil reserves to date. 95% of all its exports consist of petroleum and petroleum products.

As with most countries dependent on oil as a primary export, the existing system is partly to blame between the discrepancy of aggregate and individual performance. To put it simply, there is a reason why Nigeria is doing fine while Nigerians are floundering in poverty. As long as the monarchs and dictators who run these oil wells can get rich by drilling their natural resources, nothing will change. The thing is, oil production is never really labor-intensive. Concentrating solely on it will not produce the jobs that Nigerians need. And it’s not possible for just anybody to start drilling and selling oil, so the government’s role is crucial in this aspect. This is part of the reason behind the perplexing condition of increasing GDP and increasing unemployment at the same time.

The above data would discourage most prospective investors. But most successful business strategies were never really founded on conventional thinking. Whereas most people would dismiss the situation in Nigeria as hopeless, savvy businessmen would take the risk, if only for some positive points. For whoever dares to be different and decide to invest in this country, there is a silver lining.

The country is rife with trainable manpower. Another way of looking at the high unemployment rate is that there is an abundance of available labor. Industries that require a large amount of manpower are perfect for making use of Nigeria’s human capital. Not only that, but this will shift the focus from oil and address the wealth distribution problems plaguing the nation.

A good template would be Dubai. While still dependent on oil, this country decided to diversify and lessen its reliance on natural resources. Today, the country is thriving at a rate of progress that is much greater than its neighbors who maintain closed minds. Should investors go in and provide the seeds of change that Nigeria needs, it could start something significant.

For starters, it could open the government’s eyes into developing the infrastructure needed for industries other than oil. The majority of Nigerians are not realizing their full potential because of a sordid lack of opportunities. Electricity and Internet connections – two resources that would allow anyone to get a job anywhere – are severely lacking. If the country’s leaders don’t see a need for change, Nigeria’s distribution of wealth will forever be unfair. But if they realize that progress could be achieved by all for very little cost, then maybe they would soften to the idea.

Because most businesses avoid Nigeria, if you manage to achieve any level of success, you will make a difference in many lives. And any business that employs skilled workers will benefit individuals in much more meaningful ways than any figure in Nigeria’s economy.


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