Watch: Nigerian presidential candidate Peter Obi on his plans to transform Nigeria’s economy
Nigeria has the world’s largest oil reserves but lacks the wherewithal to exploit these resources to the full.
Peter Obi, a former military head who has campaigned to become Nigeria’s president in the last few months, argues the country can be made more productive.
By Lucy McLeod
Last night’s US elections saw Donald Trump become the 45th president of the United States but there were also many good results from his opponent Hillary Clinton in the Democratic Party’s presidential primary race.
Both candidates campaigned on populist platforms, promising to deliver a greater tax and spending programme than the Republican Trump campaigned on.
It is hoped their policies might help to transform the countries that provide Nigeria with the most crude oil and gas, to the better.
On the latter, it is hoped both candidates will be able to give their country’s people the economic independence they have so long been told they should already have.
While Clinton and Trump campaigned as pro-business, Clinton’s election manifesto said she would return to the free market and cut trade barriers between countries while Trump promised to reverse America’s “disastrous” trade deals.
Clinton said she would use new trade deals with China and the European Union to bring down trade barriers and said she would tax multinationals in order to encourage them to invest in America, while Trump said he would “immediately” renegotiate trade deals. (As an aside, I wish I could find more detail on Clinton’s plans for reforming trade deals with China than Donald Trump’s.)
Despite the clear divisions in the US election, it does make clear that both candidates offer a vision on how a modern economy can work, if we follow a modern idea of a country and an economy.
In both cases, this is a political economy, run as a business. It has roots that extend back to the 19th Century and even the 17th.
While I was speaking at the London School of Economics in January about the importance of economics in political life, the lecturer there, Peter Hahn, said:
“As long as a country has a working economy, that helps both the government and its people. We have to have a business-led economy, run by the state rather than a political democracy