With Africa’s largest population and economy,
the country’s leaders have a smart strategic goal
that could unlock huge project potential: building
an economy less dependent on oil. But progress has
been stymied by a handful of frustrating factors,
including public-sector corruption, security threats
and rock-bottom oil prices that have choked off
funding for efforts to diversify the economy.
President Muhammadu Buhari, elected in May,
wants to reverse two of those problems. His promises to eradicate government corruption and dismantle a major terrorist group have fostered hope
of political stability that could spur the confidence
of both domestic and foreign project sponsors.
Meanwhile, although Nigeria’s annual economic
growth dropped from 6. 5 percent to 2. 4 percent in
the second quarter of 2015, according to the Nige-rian National Bureau of Statistics, hints of a brighter
future aren’t hard to find.
For instance, in May the first phase of construction was completed for the country’s first smart
mall. The US$300 million project in Aba, Nigeria
would include at least 5,800 shops, and all facilities
will also be connected to an e-commerce hub that
allows customers to purchase items online when
they are offsite. The second phase of construction
began in June.
But there’s no getting around the reality of very
low oil prices.
“There are many emerging markets both in the
formal and informal sectors—informal meaning
Nigeria is in
a tough spot.
outside government purview—which will flourish
as soon as the recent poor fortunes in the oil industry get reversed,” says Kunle Adebajo, CEO, Ove
Arup & Partners Nigeria Ltd., Lagos, Nigeria.
As it charts a more stable future, Nigeria will need
skilled project managers to oversee transformative initiatives, says Abiye Kalaiwo, PMP, program
manager, United States Agency for International
Development (USAID), Abuja, Nigeria. Mr. Kalaiwo
believes such project discipline can help the country
realize its potential in sectors such as IT, healthcare,
transportation and renewable energy.
“Nigeria is a developing country with all the credentials for an exponential growth in development,
“As the economy
there will be
an increase in
the need for
—Abiye Kalaiwo, PMP, United
States Agency for International
Development, Abuja, Nigeria
Commercial district of Lagos, Nigeria,
the country’s largest city