Many Economic Analysts on the continent of Africa have at one point or the other commended the potentials and the natural resources that are well able to keep the continent on the best economic leadership role in the World. However, we still have many challenges confronting the growth of the economy. In this edition I will enumerate a few challenges that make it absolutely difficult for the continent to assume that leadership position economically.
It is important to note that development usually begins from the smallest unit of every society then it grows to the larger unit of the society, therefore I will start from the West Africa countries, highlighting the potentials and the major challenge that will continue to stand against us as a people.
Nigeria at present is the 7th largest populated nation in the World, with over 177 million people, this figure is no doubt an advantage that the rest of West African nations if not the entire continent should take advantage of in terms of trade and exchange of products, in fact the trade movement should have been fully taken into consideration by the member states and the leaders of these countries enter into economic agreement that will enhance greater opportunity.
With the recent statistics available on the numbers of potential tertiary students in Nigeria, over 700,000 Nigerian students are on the street for lack of enough space for these students. All tertiary in Nigeria, both private and public can only accommodate between 400,000 and 500,000 students and the number of prospective tertiary institution student is over a million. Ghana is presently enjoying the fall out. Yet the conditions are not too palatable to encourage more inflow into the country.
A former President of Nigeria, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo in one conference in Ghana about three years ago stressed the problem of border challenge in moving eggs from Nigeria to Ghana, he pointed out that the number of immigration blocks on the road and illegal fee charged would have triple the cost of the egg before getting to Ghana.
Travelling from Ghana to Nigeria has become a serious worry as the customs and immigration on the road can discourage the potential businessmen. Ghana immigration appears the most interesting, they exhibit great sense of professionalism and understanding. The level of illegal action at the Ghana border is very low almost at Zero level, but entering Togo and Benin is worse as they will refuse to show understanding, all they are after if collecting fees that has no receipt, this makes it difficult for proper understanding amongst the so called ECOWAS citizens. Even after presenting your document and probably Identity card, they ignore you but interested in getting money from you. What we say about Nigeria, it is probably the most stressful, within 1 kilometre, you are faced with over 20 check points, they will be asking for the same thing and this gives us a serious concern. One would begin to wonder why it was so.
What could be the reason for more than 20 different military organisations on the road, they check nothing only to collect money that has no record, if any product is discovered, that becomes a serious problem. Nigeria has been fighting against corruption yet the level of it on this road is at peak.
If ECOWAS is really interested in expanding the market to other countries within the region, it is important to also consider the role of the appropriate authority that approve food and drugs, Ghana is rich in herbal products, Nigeria is good in some other product ditto to Ivory Coast and other countries, but the authority should accept product that has been approved by a country without going through the same process in another country, that will open the door of product movement.
The Government of the various countries should help the citizens and improve the economics growth of our continent.
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