Despite its economic growth rate of about 7% over five years, Nigeria, one of Africas largest economies, faces the challenge of translating growth into poverty reduction and reduced social inequality.
It is within this context that the African Development Bank (AfDB), on July 29 2013, at a High Level Policy Dialogue on Infrastructure and Structural Transformation, focused on the challenges and opportunities faced by Nigeria with experiences and lessons drawn from other countries.
The dialogue aimed at supporting a strong and sound policy environment for investment in critical infrastructure to promote economic development with contributions from policy makers, private sector, academics and development partners.
Using data from various sources, CSEAs paper presentation titled Structural Transformation of the Nigerian Economy: A Policy Paper, established a lack of substantial structural transformation of the Nigerian economy in terms of historical structure of output and trade.
The paper indicated that although productivity is trending upward except in the oil sector, job creation has been very weak, leading to worrisome unemployment trends, especially among the youth. These established the urgency of structural transformation and accelerated job creation.
Lessons drawn from successfully transformed Asian countries – Indonesia, Malaysia, South Korea and China – include the necessity of political leadership and strong industrial policy, development of human capital, promotion of commodity value chains and support for the manufacturing sector that can culminate in commodity-based industrialization.