Nigeria’s Rebased $510bn GDP Not Attractive To Foreign Investors – World Bank
Despite the huge celebration by Nigeria that the country is now the largest economy in Africa and hope to cash in on the achievement to make th coutry a destination for foreign direct investment, the World Bank has said the rebasing its Gross Domestic Product will not necessarily pull foreign investment into the country
According to a experts from the World Bank, the country will only become a destination for Foreign Direct Investments policies and profitability were more factored into the recent rebasing.
The experts gave this view during the release of Africa’s Pulse – an analysis of issues shaping Africa’s economic future through video conference in Washington, United States on Monday.
According to a report…
The conference which had participation of journalists from 12 countries in Africa was moderated from Washington. It was addressed by the Chief Economist, World Bank, Africa Region, Mr. Francisco Ferreira, and the Lead Economist, World Bank, Africa Region, Punam Chuhan-Pole.
After rebasing the economy, the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics put the nation’s GDP at $510bn ahead of South Africa’s $370bn.
But the experts said the standard of living of individuals in a country was also a critical factor in determining what is happening in the country and not the state of its GDP alone.
They recommended measures aimed at the redistribution of income and an intelligent cash transfer to reduce the income gap in the continent.
This, according to them, is in spite of the 19 years of steady economic growth on the continent. They said there was a very urgent need to make Africans feel the direct impact of wealth that was being produced from the extractive industry which was responsible for much of the growth.
The World Bank chiefs also suggested that some other African countries needed to rebase their economies in order to get a better picture of what was happening on the continent.
Answering questions posed by Nigerian and South African journalists on the import of Nigeria’s rebased economy for foreign investment in the two countries, Ferreira said South Africa should not worry about losing the topmost position to Nigeria as investors had other things to consider rather than the size of the GDP.
He said, “Let me tell you from the Brazilian perspective. I am a Brazilian. There are two things we like very much. We like being large and we like celebrating. So we are also one of the big economies in the world and we have a big carnival and we celebrate all these things. Really, what matters in the end is per capita income. What matters is individual’s living standard.
“I don’t want to rein in Nigeria’s parade at all but I think it is just great we now have a better sense of how large that economy is. It is also the most populous country in the region.
“It is fantastic that we know that but going forward, what matters is living standard for everyone and the productivity that generates those living standards.
“For South Africa, I don’t think investors sitting in New York, London, Beijing or Tokyo are looking at GDP statistics necessarily.
“They are looking at how they can make profitable investments in that country. If South Africans want to worry about things, they can worry about labour situation and strikes. They can worry about persistent inequality. The fact that Nigeria has a larger economy is not something I would predict we would worry about if I were a South African.”
Chuhan-Pole, who authored the Africa’s Pulse report, echoed a similar thought when she said that the policies, prospects and investors’ perspectives played more roles in determining the destination of global FDIs than a nation’s GDP.
She said, “To put it in context; in the global economy, the FDI is very, very large and net outflow is in the trillions. Nigeria’s becoming larger; does that mean that investors will not be able to differentiate each country and see what the prospects are for them?
“It is not like for Africa; there is a fixed pull of X billion dollars and now a little more goes to Nigeria and a little less goes to South Africa. That Nigeria is the largest economy in Africa and South Africa should get less FDI should not be much of a concern to South Africa.
“It depends on the merits of the country itself – the policies and prospects and how investors are viewing them.”
The World Bank economists lamented that the gap between the rich and the poor was growing despite the funds that the region was making from the extractive industry. They suggested that intelligent redistribution of income could do the continent some good.
They also expressed worry over the continent’s poor access to electricity, adding that despite the paucity of power, Africans pay up to two or three times more than consumers of electricity in developed countries.
Ferreira said, “The growth is not taking place where the poor are working; agriculture for instance which employs up to 60 to 70 per cent of Africans. We must take the wealth Africa is extracting from the ground and invest in other sectors, including human capital development.”
In a statement issued at the end of the video conference, the World Bank said economic growth in sub-Saharan Africa rose from 4.7 per cent in 2013 to a forecasted 5.2 per cent in 2014.
It said, “This performance is boosted by rising investment in natural resources and infrastructure, and strong household spending.
“Growth was notably buoyant in resource-rich countries, including Sierra Leone and Democratic Republic of Congo. It remained steady in Cote d’Ivoire, while rebounding in Mali, supported by improved political stability and security. Non-resource-rich countries, particularly Ethiopia and Rwanda, also experienced solid economic growth in 2013.
“Capital flows to sub-Saharan Africa continued to rise, reaching an estimated 5.3 per cent of regional GDP in 2013, significantly above the developing-country average of 3.9 per cent in 2013, boosted by new oil and gas discoveries in many countries including Angola, Mozambique, and Tanzania.”
It added that with lower international food and fuel prices, and prudent monetary policy, inflation slowed in the region, growing at an annual rate of 6.3 per cent in 2013, compared with 10.7 per cent in 2012.
In Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Governor Rotimi Amaechi described the report that Nigeria’s economy was the largest in Africa as invalid and unsound.
Amaechi expressed the need for the Federal Government to juxtapose report with the World Bank’s declaration at the weekend that Nigeria was among the poorest countries in the world.
“This declaration is not only invalid, it is unsound. We are Nigerians and we must tell ourselves the truth. Nigeria has two sets of people; the extremely rich and the extremely poor,” he said through his Chief of Staff, Chief Tony Okocha.
He added, “We no longer have the middle class anymore. Why then do we rate the country as the largest economy in Africa and the 26th largest economy in the world?”
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