What are the benefits to Nigeria from participation of President Bola Tinubu in the recently concluded G20 Summit, asks EMEKA OKOROANYANWU.
The 2023 G20 summit which took place in New Delhi, India between September 9 and 10 has come and gone with Nigeria showing a notable presence at the gathering. Nigeria’s invitation to the Summit was not surprising, even though commentators wonder how Nigeria benefits, given it’s present precarious political situation.
For emphasis, the G20 is an assembly of 20 large economies of the world who account for about 80 per cent of gross world products, 75 per cent of international trade, two-thirds of global population, and 60 per cent of world land mass. It is, therefore, a primary venue for international economic and financial cooperation.
Since it’s formation in 1999, the Group has grown in stature considering the economic influence it wields globally. Just like the IMF/World Bank Annual Conference, the G20 Summit brings countries together for bilateral talks and for economic cooperation. Invited countries also seek for investments from among member states and other multilateral organisations such as the IMF, World Bank, European Union, the Asian Pacific Union etc.
Nigeria’s President Ahmed Bola Tinubu’s invitation to this year’s conference is a no big deal at all as the president’s minders want Nigerians to believe. This, for sure, is not the first time that Nigeria has been invited to the G20 meeting. By attending the summit, the country stood to gain economically as leaders of the the Financial Stability Board, the ILO, UN, WTO, IMF, World Bank, NEPADA, AU were also in attendance and participated in the pre summit planning.
The G20 is composed of the world’s largest economies, including both industrialized and developing countries. There are 20 permanent members.
However, there is a tradition of inviting a few non members as guests as well as some international organizations. This varies from year to year.
Spain, for some reasons, is invited every year.
This year, nine guest countries were invited. Nigeria was one of them. Others were Netherlands, Singapore, UAE, Spain, Oman, Bangladesh, Egypt and Mauritius.
The invited countries were there for some reasons. Nigeria, for instance, is about the largest or second largest economy in Africa with a population of over 200 million. It is of huge interest to the entire world.
Note also that the G20 works to address issues such as international finance stability, climate change, sustainable growth, debt sustainability, migration etc. So inviting Nigeria in this case is not a misnomer.
Remember our country’s debt is in the region of N49.87 trillion, about US$108 billion. Our creditors will like to keep their eyes on us and get assurances from the new government that we are capable of repaying our debt.
As for the famed foreign direct investment, FDI, I don’t believe we have bright prospects there. With the volume of our debt and the fact that we are servicing it with over 90 per cent of our income, plus our poor crude output, a result of theft, who will like to invest in our country now?
Tinubu in G20 may not be a darling of many countries because of these challenges. The invitation has nothing to do with politics. After all, who goes after a poor hungry and debt-ridden fellow? The dog only follows the man with a protruding stomach, not the one with a lean one. The truth is that our economy is in a bad shape. Unless something quickly is done about it, we may go the way of Greece and Mexico.
The solutions to our economic quagmire are obvious. We must look inwards to increase local production of goods and services. Government should create an enabling environment to attract investments.
What does enabling environment consist of? We could start by resolving the power challenge, and reduce corruption. It includes modulating the microeconomic environment to achieve stable exchange rate and single digit inflation. We need to reduce numerous taxes on local industries, reduce our appetite for foreign goods, and stop the theft of crude oil.
These measures will impact positively on price of goods in the market, which ultimately will improve consumption at the local level.
In the end, should Nigeria be a member of the G20? Why not? Nigeria stands to gain in such areas as foreign direct investments from member countries, that is if the environment at home is friendly, obtain debt rescheduling or even outright forgiveness, be able to enter into bilateral trade agreements, get bilateral cooperation on such fronts as illegal drug reduction, migration, cyber crimes and other related issues.