Sunday, August 14, 2016

Who large population don epp?


I feel envious when I hear about or research a country that has a manageable population.

Switzerland and Israel, for example, have about 8 million people. The UAE has under 10 million people. Canada and Australia, both of which have taken a decent amount of Nigerian immigrants in recent years, have 36 million and 24 million people respectively. We often point to Singapore as a model for rapid and sustainable economic development; they have just over 5 million people.

On the other hand, Lagos alone has about 20 million people. Kano has somewhere between 15 million and 20 million. Nigeria nets out somewhere between 150 million and 180 million - depending on who you ask. Some projections have it that we will number 400 million people by 2050.

Yes. 400 million people.

*****

A large population is a large market ripe for the taking under the right circumstances. But, that requires visionary leaders to build systems and organize the market, and even the most visionary leaders will find it easier to organize smaller populations. A succession of clueless leaders combined with a population spinning out of control is a recipe for disaster.

Of course, a small population does not automatically result in economic development. Burundi, Somalia, and the Central African Republic are all small countries with terrible macro-economic conditions. You still need visionary and selfless leaders, working systems and institutions, and willing and responsible citizens.

Where am I going with all of this?

Nigeria does not seem to be planning adequately for the future. If there is someone in government looking at the population projections and taking the right steps, the only thing they are doing a great job at is hiding the work they are doing. We are not building the roads, houses, schools, or even businesses - to cater for, educate, or employ the millions of babies we are churning out. Heck, we don't even have enough for the adults we already have.

Phew.

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