(1) We have all gone over the realities of the current economic climate. In this post-coronavirus era, Nigeria and most other African countries are staring into the abyss. Our reality is that the prices and exports of our primary commodities have collapsed and as we manufacture very little, we are looking at huge debts and massive balance of trade deficits
(2) Our only way out of this pit is to start manufacturing, which will reduce our dependency on imports, create local jobs and enable us to compete with the rest of the world. Africa accounts for almost 20% of the world’s population but just about 3% of global trade. One does not need to be an economist to know that such an imbalance is not sustainable
(3) I take the view that what we need is a major event to announce to the whole world that it will no longer be business as usual. I cannot think of any better platform than the World Black Arts Festival also known as Festac
(4) If you look at most of the world’s vibrant economies today, it took some major event or a Big Bang to get them going. It provided them with the proverbial kick up the backside, forcing them to step up production, accelerate manufacturing and pledge never to leave themselves vulnerable again
(5) For instance, the US quadrupled industrial output after the bombing of Pearl Harbour in 1941. They went from being an agrarian economy to becoming the world’s biggest manufacturer of ships, automobiles, armaments, etc within three years
(6) China too has never been the same since Tiananmen Square. Faced the reality of massive social inrest and an inevitable revolution, the country decided to get its act together
(7) When I look at Vietnam too and the way they have turned their economy around since the US aggression and invasion in the 1960s, I just marvel at how a nation can get going once the will is there. Do you know that today, Samsung produces about 40% of its phones in Vietnam?
(8) Japan is another unprecedented wonder. After the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, it is like they pledged never to get left behind again. Just look at the technological advances Japan has made since, especially in the area of automobiles. No European car company would believe in 1945 that the likes of Toyota and Nissan would put-perform it on the international market but alas, that is the reality of today
(9) Nigeria, as the world’s largest black nation simply has to step up to the plate and take the initiative here. Hosting another Festac with the rest of the world in attendance is more than imperative, it is compulsory. Festac 2025 or 2027 should have an investment summit attached to it, with a clear vision. Several key demands should include that at least 15% of all global investment must come to Africa, that there should be a ban on the export of raw primary African commodities and any nation that imports goods in excess of $5m from an African nation must be compelled by international law to open up a manufacturing facility there
(10) From what I can see, Africa is not leveraging on this global Black Lives Matter campaign. If we do not do it now, we will stand zero chance once the buzz fades. President Buhari as the leader of the world’s largest black nation should should announce that another Festac is impending and make it clear that this will not just be a jamboree but the start of an African economic renaissance aimed at lifting the continent out of poverty!